Industry News

Home construction loses steam

January's annualized housing starts drop 7.9% from previous month

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Privately owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.9 million, down 7.9 percent from the revised December estimate of 2.06 million, according to estimates reported today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. January's pace, however, is 4.1 percent above the year-ago rate of 1.82 million. Single-family housing starts last month were at a rate of approximately 1.54 million, down 8 percent from December's 1.67-million-unit rate. The January estimate for units in buildings with five units or more was 339,000. "The favorable interest rate structure, solid house price performance and improving economic indicators continue to drive the housing market," said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. "Although the January rate was lower than in the final months of 2003, it was still exceptionally high." Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.89 million, registering a 2.8 pe...