New US home construction fell sharply in August, led by the especially volatile multifamily sector, government data showed Thursday.
Housing starts tumbled 14.4 percent from a strong surge in July to an annual rate of 956,000 units, the Commerce Department said.
Building permits, which indicate potential construction activity, fell by 5.6 percent last month to an annual rate of 998,000.
New construction of single-family homes, the lion's share of the US housing market, slipped 2.4 percent. Starts on structures with of five or more units plummeted 31.5 percent.
"Because the housing starts data are volatile on a monthly basis, these data do not change our view that a moderate housing recovery remains on track," said Jay Morelock of FTN Financial.
"After a volatile summer, both multifamily and single-family housing starts are almost exactly where we left them in March."
Year-over-year, August housing starts were up 8.0 percent and building permits were 5.3 percent higher.