Groundbreaking for new U.S. home construction slumped in October, sliding 4.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 791,000 units as building permits dropped 12.0% to an annual rate of 708,000 units, according to Commerce Department data released yesterday.

The rate for housing starts exceeded the 780,000 level predicted by Thomson Reuters’ poll of economists. Thomson had projected a 780,000 rate for permits.

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