​Home construction: Housing starts fall in January

WASHINGTON - Cold winter weather appears to have cut into homebuilding in the Midwest and Northeast, causing the pace of construction to tumble in January.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts slipped 3.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million homes. A sharp 12.8 percent 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 percent for all of last year to 1.1 million, the highest since 2007.

Building permits dipped 0.2 percent in January to an annual rate of 1.2 million.