PhotoAnother drop in housing starts in August -- the second decline in as many months.

The Commerce Department reports groundbreakings for privately-owned housing starts in August totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,180,000 – down 0.8% from July, which was revised down to 1,190,000. However, the August rate is still 1.4% above the same month a year ago.

Construction of single-family homes rose 1.6% to an annual rate of 851,000, while the rate for structures with five units or more fell 5.8% to 323,000.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the report shows single-family starts continue to move forward at a gradual, consistent pace.

“The three-month average for single-family production has reached a post-recession high pace,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, “but the months ahead may show volatility given that the building markets affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represent about 14 percent of national production.”

Building permits

Building permits, a strong indicator of future construction plans, jumped 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,300,000 for a year-over-year gain of 8.3%.

Permits for single-family homes were at a rate of 800,000 – down 1.5% from July, while multi-unit authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more rose 22.8% to a rate of 464,000.

The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.

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