Housing Starts Slow 8.5% in January, But Maintain Multi-Year High Pace

February 20, 2013 9:00 AM EST
Housing starts fell 8.5 percent in January as some builders may be holding back a little as demand works to catch up with current construction.

According to the U.S. Census, privately-owned housing starts came in at 890,000 last month, from a revised 973,000 in December and expectations for 914,000.

Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 613,000; this is 0.8 percent above the revised December figure of 608,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 260,000, down 24.1 percent.

The Western U.S. showed the largest year-over-year gain, with starts up 72.7 percent for the month. The South saw just a 19.9 percent pop.

Single-family starts were at the fastest pace since July 2008.

Traders will be keeping an eye on SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSE: XHB) ETF, which encompasses such names as D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI), Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), Ryland Group (NYSE: RYL), Mohawk Industries (NYSE: MHK), and others.

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