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US housing construction drops 16 per cent in January with much of weakness weather related

In this Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, photo, Paquale Cocca installs a new electrical box on a new home, in Pepper Pike, Ohio. The Commerce Department releases housing starts for January on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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In this Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, photo, Paquale Cocca installs a new electrical box on a new home, in Pepper Pike, Ohio. The Commerce Department releases housing starts for January on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

WASHINGTON - U.S. home construction fell in January for a second month but the weakness in both months reflected severe winter weather in many parts of the country. The expectation is that housing will deliver another year of solid gains, helped by an improving economy.

The Commerce Department says builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000, down 16 per cent from December. In December, construction had fallen 4.8 per cent. The declines in both months were blamed largely on the weather.

Applications for building permits fell in January for a third month, dropping 5.4 per cent to a rate of 937,000.

For all of 2013, housing construction rose 17.7 per cent to 976,000 units, the best showing since 2007. Analysts expect further gains this year as stronger job growth boosts demand.

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