U.S. housing starts fall as single-family activity weakens

WASHINGTON ― U.S. housing starts fell by a more-than-expected 8.7% in February, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.162 million units. The percentage decline was the largest in eight months, with inclement weather a possible factor. Construction of single-family dwellings plunged by 17% to its lowest rate in more than 18 months. Building permits dropped 1.6% to a rate of 1.296 million units. At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Department revised the December and January figures upward.