U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly fell in April to the lowest level in five months amid persistent weakness in the construction of multi-family housing units, suggesting a slowdown in the housing market recovery.
Housing starts dropped 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units also as single-family homebuilding rebounded modestly, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. April’s reading was the lowest level since last November and followed a downwardly revised rate of 1.20 million units in March.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast groundbreaking activity rising to a rate of 1.26 million units last month from a previously reported rate of 1.22 million units in March. Homebuilding increased 0.7 percent on a year-on-year basis.
The weakness in residential construction will probably do little to change the view that economic activity picked up by early in the second quarter. Gross domestic product increased at a pedestrian 0.7 percent annualized