U.S. housing starts and permits for future home construction unexpectedly fell in June, further evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic activity in the second quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday housing starts dropped 9.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 836,000 units. That was the lowest level since August last year. May's starts were revised up to show a 928,000-unit pace instead of the previously reported 914,000 units.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected groundbreaking to rise to a 959,000-unit rate last month.
Permits to build homes fell 7.5 percent last month to a 911,000-unit pace. Economists had expected them to rise to a 1-million unit pace.
The report was the latest indication that economic growth probably braked sharply from the first quarter's 1.8 percent annual pace. The economy has been hit by tighter fiscal policy and slowing global demand.