Starts down slightly, permits rebound

At 0.2% below the upwardly revised January estimate of 909,000, housing starts came in at a relatively weak pace in February, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. However, building permits were 7.7% above last month's rate.

February's housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, that's 6.4% below February 2013's rate of 969,000.

Single-family starts came in at 583,000, which marked a 0.3% improvement over the revised January figure of 581,000.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,018,000, 6.9% above February 2013. However, single-family permits came in at 588,000, which is 1.8% below January's revised figure of 599,000.

The results for February are a slight improvement over a frigid reading in January, which many chalked up to extreme winter weather conditions around the country.