U.S. housing starts fall in August after blockbuster July reading

Pace of new construction comes in below most estimates

Home construction
Home construction

New construction on U.S. homes slumped unexpectedly in August after hitting a nearly seven-year high one month earlier.

Housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 956,000, falling 14.4 percent from July’s revised reading of 1.12 million, according to Commerce Department data cited by Bloomberg News. Economists surveyed by the news service had expected a pace of between 995,000 to 1.12 million starts.

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Single family home starts fell 2.4 percent to 643,000 last month, while multi-family building construction fell 31.7 percent to a rate of 313,000, the slowest pace in nearly a year. Permits for future projects dipped 5.6 percent from a month ago to a pace of 998,000.

Bloomberg pointed to slow wage growth and high lending standards as barriers for Americans who want to buy homes, while identifying progress in the labor market and low interest rates as tailwinds. [Bloomberg News]Tom DiChristopher