U.S. Housing Starts Unexpectedly Slide 0.8% In August

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New residential construction in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of August, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.

The report said housing starts fell by 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.180 million in August from a revised 1.190 million in July. Economists had expected housing starts to jump by 1.7 percent.

The unexpected decrease in housing starts reflected a notable decrease in multi-family starts, which plunged by 6.5 percent to a rate of 329,000 in August from a rate of 352,000 in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said single-family housing starts climbed by 1.6 percent to a rate of 851,000 in August from a rate of 838,000 in July.

The report also said building permits, an indicating of future housing demand, spiked by 5.7 percent to a rate of 1.300 million in August from a rate of 1.230 million in July.

Multi-family permits soared by 19.6 percent to a rate of 500,000 in August from a rate of 418,000 in July, while single-family permits fell by 1.5 percent to a rate of 800,000 from a rate of 812,000.

On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing a bigger than expected drop in homebuilder confidence, as the data was impacted by recent hurricanes.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped to 64 in September from a downwardly revised 67 in August.

Economists had expected the housing market index to edge down to 67 from the 68 originally reported for the previous month.

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