Surprise drop in U.S. housing starts

WASHINGTON — Housing starts in the U.S. saw an unexpected second monthly decrease in April, falling to a five-month low. According to U.S. Commerce Department data, new residential construction declined by 2.6% to a rate of 1.17 million units, suggesting that the housing recover may be cooling. At the same time, single-family dwelling construction picked up modestly. A Reuters survey of economists had produced a forecast increase to 1.26 million units, from 1.2 million in March.