Housing Starts Drop, New Home Sales Soar, While Permits Edge Up In First Quarter

Under the onslaught of harsh winter weather, new home construction in the U.S. fell below the annualized million new starts marker in February for the first time since September 2014. The decline is being attributed to the devastating winter weather that has plagued much of the country and slowed home building for a second consecutive winter.

While housing starts were floundering, sales of newly built, single-family homes in February actually rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units. This is the highest sales pace since February 2008 according to the National Association of Home Builders.

But there was more positive news for housing in the form of new home building permits—an indicator of future housing construction activity. The Department of Commerce reports that new housing permits were issued for 1,060,000 units in January of this year and for 1,092,000 units in February in spite of the harsh winter weather.

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