Housing starts increased 0.9% for August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens a PDF) released today.
After July's report was revised down to 883,000 from an unrevised 896,000, these latest numbers managed to sneak into positive territory. But 0.9% gains fell short for analysts, who had expected another solid growth month at an annual rate of 915,000.
Included in the overall 891,000 rate was a 7% increase in construction starts of single-family homes, which rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000. That's the fastest rate since February. The gain in single-family homes construction was offset by a decline in volatile demand for apartments.
In a sign of potential contraction ahead, housing permits fell 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 918,000, while housing completions finished off the month 0.3% above July at a 769,000 rate.
Over the last year, housing starts have jumped 19%, permits are up 11%, and completions have notched 12.1% gains.
Today's news comes a day after a September report revealed that homebuilder confidence has remained steady for the second month at recovery-high levels.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.