WASHINGTON — Groundbreaking for new homes fell in July, decreasing for the first time in three months, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Housing starts slipped 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 604,000 units in July. Building permits fell 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 597,000 units.

Starts and permits for June were both revised lower.

Starts were revised to 613,000 from 629,000 last month and building permits were revised to 617,000 from the 624,000 initially reported.

Economists had expected 600,000 housing starts and 606,000 building permits in July, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

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