August 18, 2009

Housing starts below expectations

Housing market indicators fell in July after two months of increases for housing starts and permits issued, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.

In May, housing starts climbed 17.2 percent above April's starts. In June, the upswing continued with a 3.6 percent rise.

Economists expected two months of increases to turn into three, but housing starts dropped 1 percent to an adjusted annual rate of 581,000 homes, the department said.

Permits issued fell 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 560,000. From a year ago, permits issued have dropped 39.4 percent, the report said.

Project completions also dropped in the month compared to June. In July, an annual rate of 802,000 homes were completed, 0.9 percent below June's revised estimate of 809,000.