Recent reports from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau show that the housing market remained mostly unchanged in February, declining a slight 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 907,000 homes built.
Officials believe the severe winter weather was the main cause of the small decline.
"Continuing the January trend and in line with our recent surveys, builders are in a holding pattern. Poor weather is keeping many from getting into the field and they continue to face challenges related to a shortage of lots and labor," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
Applications for building permits rose 7.7 percent in February to 1.02 million units – their highest level in four months.
NAHB chief economist David Crowe said the improving economy and steady job growth will likely increase the sales of new and existing homes this year.
"While housing construction is in a recent lull due to unusual weather conditions, we expect to see an improvement as the winter weather pattern subsides and builders prepare for the spring selling season," said Crowe. "Competitive mortgage rates, affordable home prices and an improving economy all point to a continuing, gradual strengthening of housing activity through the rest of the year. Moreover, building permits, which are less dependent on weather and are a harbinger of future building activity, rose above 1 million units in February."
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