WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Suggesting weakness in the housing market, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing that new residential construction in the U.S. unexpectedly tumbled to its lowest level in well over a year in September.
The report said housing starts plunged by 9.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.047 million in September after slumping by 5.6 percent to a revised 1.150 million in August.
The continued decline came as a surprise to economists, who had expected housing starts to climb to a rate of 1.180 million from the 1.142 million originally reported for the previous month.
With the unexpected decrease, housing starts dropped to their lowest annual rate since hitting 964,000 in March of 2015.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department also said building permits surged up by 6.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.225 million in September after rising by 0.7 percent to a revised 1.152 million in August.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to increase to 1.165 million from the 1.139 million that had been reported for the previous month.
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