WASHINGTON — Ground-breaking for U.S. home construction was stronger than economists expected in August as building permits and housing starts both increased for the first time since March, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
Housing starts rose 10.5% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000, thanks partly to a 42.7% surge in construction of multi-unit buildings. Building permits expanded 1.8% to a 569,000 pace.
Economists expected 550,000 housing starts and 560,000 building permits for August, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.
For the 12-month period that ended in August, building permits saw a decline of 6.7% while housing starts increased 2.2%.