Privately owned housing starts in January came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,099,000, down 3.8% from the revised December estimate of 1,143,000, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
However, this is 1.8 % above the January 2015 rate of 1,080,000.
“Seasonal weather and the recent uncertainty in the stock market are likely explanations for the decline in January housing starts,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield.
“Taking a step back to look at year-over-year growth, we continue to see healthy and steady gains. It should be noted that near record low mortgage rates and increased credit availability should give a boost to potential homebuyers as we move through the winter months,” he said.
Building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,202,000. That is 0.2% below the revised December rate of 1,204,000, but 13.5% above the January 2015 estimate of 1,059,000.
Meanwhile, privately owned housing completions in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,057,000, up 2.0% from the revised December estimate of 1,036,000. This is also 8.4% above the January 2015 rate of 975,000.
“Given the volatility in 2015, we remain optimistic about the housing market following an overall upward trajectory while new home sales level out,” said TD Bank Regional Sales Manager Chris Copley.