U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in November, tumbling from a nine-year high as construction activity declined broadly.
Groundbreaking on new housing projects dropped 18.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units, the Commerce Department said on Friday. October's starts were revised up to a 1.34 million-unit rate, the highest since July 2007.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts slipping to a 1.23 million-unit rate in November from the previously reported 1.32 million pace. Starts fell in all four regions last month. Housing starts data is very volatile month-to-month.
October's surge in home building had widened the gap between permits and starts. As such, a drop in housing starts was widely anticipated to bring them more in line with permits.
The housing market remains on solid ground even as mortgage rates have jumped to more than two-year highs following the election of Donald Trump as the next president. A survey on Thursday showed homebuilders' confidence in December hitting its highest level since July 2005, with builders anticipating strong sales.