US housing starts decline unexpectedly in March
Homebuilding activity in the US slowed in March although a key indicator of futures trends held up.
Housing starts shrank at a month-on-month clip of 6.8% to reach an annualised pace of 1.215m, although they remained 9.2% above the year-earlier level, according to the Department of Commerce.
Economists had forecast 1.26m.
Permits to begin construction on private homes on the other hand grew by 3.6% versus February's level, reching 1.26m (consensus: 1.255m).
In seasonally adjusted terms, starts on single familiy homes declined 6.2% to 821,000m, with weakness concentrated in the Midwest and West, which saw falls of 16.2% and 16.0%, respectively.