Prognosis for Housing Solid Despite Decline in Starts
Despite an 11% decline in the pace of new housing construction in February, the industry remains on track to start work on nearly 1.7 million units this year, said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders, assuming that the war in Iraq comes to a swift end and the Congress passes a fiscal stimulus package by mid-year.
Housing starts slipped 11% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.62 million units. The decline was entirely in single-family houses, which dropped off by 13.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 million units, which Seiders said was “still just shy of the stellar 1.36 million-unit rate of single-family housing production” recorded last year.
Multifamily production in February nudged up by 2% to a yearly rate of 327,000 units.
Blame for the decline in new residential construction activity was laid on bitter winter weather across much of the nation, combined with weakness in the economy and job market and pre-war anxieties.