The housing market was at an all-time high at the beginning of 2003, but new home construction is beginning to slow down due to an uncertain economy and weak job market. The Department of Commerce reported that housing starts plummeted from 1.82 million in January to 1.62 million in February. Cold and wet weather nationwide, coupled with the expectations of war, led to the 11% decline, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Single-family housing starts fell 13.7% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.3 million units. While this was a significant drop, it came close to record-setting 2002 numbers. The multifamily housing sector, however, posted a 2% gain in February to 327,000 units. Here’s some more good news: residential building permits edged up four-tenths of a percent to 1.79 million units. The housing market may not continue on its record-setting pace, but economists predict that it will continue to stay strong as long as interest rates remain low.