Housing starts decreased 4.1% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.638 million units, according to reuters.com. Economists expected starts to fall to a rate of 1.700 million units.
Housing starts were up 0.8% compared with January 2021. Applications for building permits, a good indication of future activity, rose 0.7% to 1.899 million units in January.
Single-family housing starts were down 5.6% at 1.116 million units, and the rate for multifamily starts was down 2.7% at 510,000 units.
On Feb. 16, the National Association of Homebuilders said building material production bottlenecks were raising construction costs and delaying projects. Additionally, rising mortgage rates could slow housing demand; the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped above 4% last week for the first time since 2019.