WASHINGTON – The pace of housing starts fell 2.6% to a 1.246 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in January, well ahead of expectations for a larger drop to a 1.228 million pace.

Single-family starts rose 1.9% in the month after a 2.2% decline in the previous month, while multi-family starts fell 10.2%, only partially giving back the 45.8% surge in the previous month.

The pace of unadjusted starts stands 11.0% above its year ago level with single-family starts 7.2% over that period.

Building permits rose 4.6% to a 1.285 million rate in January, a stronger rate than the 1.235 million pace expected and the highest since November 2015. This could lead to a rebound in the starts in the coming months.

Completions fell 5.6% in January. Homes permitted but not started were up 1.4% in January as permits rose and starts declined. Homes under construction posted a 0.6% increase to 1.069 million units due to sharp December gain in starts. The pace of homes under construction was the strongest since November 2007.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.