U.S. housing starts hit a record low in April, falling 13 percent from March to an annual rate of 458,000 starts, the Commerce Department said today. Building permits fell 3.3 percent to 494,000, another record low. Economists had predicted that housing starts and building permits would increase, and single-family home construction did rise for the second straight month, this time by 2.8 percent to a rate of 368,000. But construction of multi-family properties fell to 90,000 from 167,000 in March. Starts fell 31 percent in the Northeast and 21 percent in the South.