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Housing chill more than weather: Hovnanian

There's more at play in the recent housing setback than just this winter's frozenomics, the chairman and CEO of a major home builder told CNBC on Monday.

The housing market started off with a roar in 2013 and then got choppy, Ara Hovnanian of Hovnanian Enterprises said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "And that was before the weather."

"The mortgage rate increase combined with housing increases this past year in the good market, ... caus[ing] some buyers to hold back a little bit and hesitate [on] a little sticker shock," he said. "But they haven't really changed their house buying patterns in terms of what size and what price." He said he sees improvement in sales in recent weeks.

(Read more: What is out of whack with housing? Not the snow)

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As a comparison to the current trend, he pointed to the housing recoveries of 1991 and 1981. "It wasn't always a smooth trajectory."

"But I have no doubt that we are going to recover," he continued. "We're still way below demographically supportable housing- production levels. And I think it's going to come back."

Last week, Hovnanian said it lost 17 cents a share in the first quarter—more than had been forecast. Revenues of $364 million were lower than expected as well. The company—with a $700 million market capitalization—builds homes all around the country. Houston and Dallas are the hottest for Hovnanian, whose namesake chief executive said he expects them to be drivers for a better year.

Housing has not been the only sector experiencing weather-related slowdowns.

In testimony on Capitol Hill last month, Fed Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged weather as a headwind, and said central bank policymakers will be watching it.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.

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