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.
The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.