Housing starts rebounded from a nine-year low in February, according to the latest government reading on the battered home-building industry, but ongoing weakness led builders to pull back on plans for more housing.
Housing starts can be affected by weather. Some housing experts said the January numbers got hurt by the return of cold winter weather after an exceptionally warm December, which had led some builders to push up start dates for their projects.
Building permits, which generally are not as affected by weather as are housing starts, fell to an annual rate of 1.53 million from the 1.57 million pace in January. Economists had forecast that permits, seen as a measure of builder's confidence in the market, would slip to only a 1.55 million rate.