US Housing Starts face setback due to harsh weather

US Housing Starts face setback due to harsh weather

U.S. housing starts witnessed their lowest levels in the year during February, mainly due to harsh weather. Groundbreaking declined in all four regions but real estate experts consider this as a temporary setback in the recovering housing market. The demand for housing has remained high during the last few months and real estate prices have also firmed up.

Harsh winters led the new housing starts to seasonally adjusted 897,000 units during February, the lowest level seen since January 2014. The Commerce Department report indicated 3 percent increase in building permits during January.

Since July 2014, the new building permits have remained above a million for each month. The figures released for February are lower than 1.05 million units estimated by industry experts.

In the Northeast, groundbreaking witnessed a major decline at 56.5 percent. The activity in Midwest was down by 37 percent. In the West, groundbreaking registered a decline of 18.2 percent. In the South, the activity was down by 2.5 percent.

Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said, "Housing starts should climb again next month as the spring selling season begins. However, if sales fail to lift single-family permits this spring, it could spell trouble for the single-family market."

The impact of lower housing starts could linger on in the first quarter figures. Real estate experts are looking forward to strong activity in March. Last month, the groundbreaking for single-family homes declined by 14.9 percent while multi-family homes witnessed 20.8 percent decline.