Cold winter weather appears to have cut into residential construction in the US Midwest and Northeast, causing the pace of construction to tumble in January.
The Commerce Department said that housing starts slipped 3.8 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million homes.
A sharp 12.8 per cent decline in construction in the Midwest and a 3.7 dip in the Northeast propelled the broader decrease, with construction also falling in the South. It was nearly unchanged in the West.
Still, more Americans are purchasing new houses or signing leases for expensive apartments compared with a year ago. Home construction jumped 10.8 per cent for all of last year to 1.1 million, the highest since 2007.
Building permits dipped 0.2 per cent in January to an annual rate of 1.2 million.