Mother Nature Blasts Housing Starts, Permits

JWGreen, wikimedia commons. House covered in snow.
JWGreen, wikimedia commons. House covered in snow.

If you're hoping that the federal home buyer tax credit will help you sell you home, be warned: Sometimes even massive federal subsidies can't beat Mother Nature.

The latest indicators of the health in the housing market tanked in February, as blizzards kept workers from starting work on new homes and the snow also kept developers from applying for new building permits, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census.

The construction of new homes and apartments fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 575,000 a year in February. That's down from 611,000 in January, though January was an unusually busy month. For most of the months of last year, housing starts ranged between 521,000 and 593,000.

So perhaps "tanked" is too strong. After all, both starts and permits have improved compared to 2009, one of the worst years on record. Let's call February's activity... disappointing.