Construction of new homes in the U.S. fell in January, according to the latest numbers from the Commerce Department.
Private new housing starts lost 2% from December’s big gains, but were still strong at 1,065,000. Year over year new construction is up by 18.7%.
Weather played a part, last December was mild for the time of year, while last January had much of the country in a deep freeze.
Up in January were building permits, a key indicator for future construction. Last month edged out December by 0.7% coming in at 1,053.000.
It’s the fifth straight month building starts topped 1,000,000, but wage growth has remained stagnant.
Analysts are predicting a jump in housing starts for 2015, and along with them a pick-up in wages that should also propel the market.
Groundbreaking on single-family homes is still on a downward trend. New construction on multi-family homes continues to rise and rental vacancies are at their lowest level since late 2008.