Amidst lower mortgage rates, new housing starts took a 4% plunge in February, according to a report released by the Census Bureau today. Privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,855,000, down from the revised January figure of 1,932,000.
According to the February report, building permits were also down, with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,903,000— 1.5% below the revised January rate of 1,932,000.
Housing completions, however, were up slightly, with an annual rate of 1,711,000— a 0.2% increase over January.
This decline indicates delays in breaking ground for new houses due to bad weather, rather than a weak market. In a report released earlier by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. construction jobs dropped 0.35% in the same period. Analysts say this is a result of seasonal conditions.