Construction on new houses fell 4% in July to the second-lowest rate this year, but builders applied for more permits in a positive sign for the housing market.
Housing starts dropped to an annual rate of 1.191 million in July from a revised 1.241 million in June, according to the monthly report from the Commerce Department.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had anticipated a 1.25 million rate for starts.
Permits to build additional properties increased 8.4% to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.336 million from June’s revised rate of 1.232 million. For permits, economists polled by MarketWatch expected a rate of 1.29 million.
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