The future of the housing market remains precarious — and remains precariously tied to the overall economy. As I wrote last week, there are a number of reasons that housing starts may be behind schedule — not least of all, a shortage in the labor market. January was also a rough month from a weather perspective, so it’s no surprise that housing-starts were down. However, building permits were also down in January, down 0.2%. Now, that’s a very small change, but it actually hides much larger volatility, with a 2.1% increase in multi-family units, but a 1.6% decrease in single-family permits.