By David M. Kinchen Real Estate Writer
U.S.: Midwest Pushes Housing Starts Down 2 Percent in January
Photo by David M. Kinchen

Nationwide housing starts fell 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.065 million units in January, according to data released Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015  from the U.S. Commerce Department.

This drop was mainly due to a 22.2 percent decrease in the Midwest. 

Single-family housing production fell 6.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 678,000 in January while multifamily starts rose 7.5 percent to 387,000 units.

“These numbers are consistent with our recent surveys and are primarily due to severe weather hitting the Midwest and other parts of the country,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“After a strong single-family report in December, it is not surprising to see some pull back in January,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “With continued job creation and a growing economy, single-family production should make gains in the year ahead.”

Regionally in January, combined single- and multifamily housing production increased 6.5 percent in the South. Total starts fell in the Northeast, Midwest and West, with respective losses of 3.5 percent, 22.2 percent and 3.4 percent.

Overall permit issuance -- a leading indicator for future housing starts -- was down 0.7 percent in January to a rate of 1.053 million. Single-family permits decreased 3.1 percent to 654,000 units while multifamily permits rose 3.6 percent to a rate of 399,000 units.

Regionally, permits were mixed in January. The Northeast and West registered gains of 29.5 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively, while the Midwest and South dropped 16 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

Housing completions in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 930,000. This is 1.3 percent  above the revised December estimate of
918,000 and is 9.4 percent  above the January 2014 rate of 850,000. Single-family housing completions in January were at a rate of 649,000; this is 2.3 percent below the revised December rate of 664,000.