U.S. housing starts unexpectedly fell in January likely as bad weather disrupted building projects in some parts of the country, in what could be a temporary setback for the housing market.
Groundbreaking fell 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.099 million units, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Part of the decline in starts could be attributed to the snowstorms, which blanketed the Northeast last month.
December’s starts were revised down to a 1.143 million-unit rate from the previously reported 1.15 million-unit pace.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a 1.17 million-unit pace last month.
The report comes on the heels of a survey on Tuesday showing confidence among homebuilders fell in February amid concerns over “the high cost and lack of availability of lots and labor.”
Builders were less optimistic about current sales.