Housing Starts, Permits Decline Sharply in July, Surprising Economists

U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly fell in July amid broad declines in single- and multi-family home construction, suggesting the housing market was struggling to rebound after slumping in the second quarter.

Housing starts declined 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. June’s sales pace was revised down to 1.21 million units from the previously reported 1.22 million units.

The report also showed a decline in building permits, which could temper expectations of an acceleration in residential construction after it contracted in the second quarter at its steepest pace since the third quarter of 2010.

Housing subtracted 0.27 percentage point from second-quarter gross domestic product. Economists had forecast groundbreaking activity to be little changed at a rate of 1.22 million units in July. Homebuilding fell 5.6 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Last month’s drop in starts pushed them further below their historic



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