Don't be fooled, Housing permits number is what to look for not housing starts.
We all know the weather has been very difficult this winter and could be the major factor in housing starts not meeting estimates. What we will have this spring then is pent up demand as Housing permits are well above estimates. If you combine today's housing permits plus the housing starts that got delayed because of weather, we should see very strong housing starts in 6 weeks. Which is the beginning of March.
December Building Permits 635K vs 560K Briefing.com consensus; M/M change +16.7%
December Housing Starts 529K vs 550K Briefing.com consensus; M/M change -4.3%