A mixed outlook for the housing market
A Blu Homes worker looks on as a crane lowers the flooring section of a pre-fab modular home on January 27, 2014 in Vallejo, California. Eco-friendly pre-fabricated home builder Blu Homes broke ground on their new model home BluDesign Center near their factory on Mare Island in Vallejo, California.
New home construction took another hit last month, according to the latest figures from the Commerce Department. Housing starts slipped for a third straight month, though applications for building permits rose more than 7 percent.
In parts of the country relentless winter storms have slowed down homebuilding, but the fragile housing recovery is up against more than bad weather.
In a typical recovery, young people would be the first time buyers flocking to model homes. But analysts say Millennials have been slower to move out of their parents' homes and form their own households - held back by a tough job market and soaring student loan debt. For people who do want to buy, higher mortgage rates and rising prices have also made housing less affordable.
The National Association of Home Builders says members are pessimistic about the next six months, as they face higher materials costs, and shortages of skilled labor and ready-to-build land.