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U.S. Housing Starts Unexpectedly Spike 12.2% In August

The Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing an unexpected spike in new residential construction in the U.S. in the month of August, although the report also showed a steeper than expected slump in building permits.

The report showed housing starts soared by 12.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.575 million in August after plunging by 10.9 percent to a revised rate of 1.404 million in July.

The sharp increase surprised economists, who had expected housing starts to edge down by 0.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.445 million from 1.446 million originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said building permits plunged by 10.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.517 million in August after slipping by 0.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.685 million in July.

Economists had expected building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, to tumble by 4.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.610 million from the 1.674 million originally reported for the previous month.

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