U.S. housing starts tumbled to a 1-1/2-year low in September amid a steep decline in the construction of multifamily homes, but a surge in the construction of single-family units pointed to sustained strength in the housing market.
Groundbreaking dropped 9.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.05 million units, the lowest level since March 2015, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. August’s starts were revised up to a 1.15 million-unit pace from the previously reported 1.14 million-unit rate.
Single-family home building, which accounts for the largest share of the residential housing market, jumped 8.1 percent to a 783,000-unit pace in September, the highest level since February.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a 1.18 million-unit pace in September. Last month’s drop left the overall housing starts in the third quarter well below their average for the second quarter.