The Department of Commerce said building permits dropped 2.2 percent to a rate of 1.273 million units–its lowest level since September 2017. A Reuters poll had economists forecasting that housing starts would fall to a pace of 1.320 million units in June while permits would rise to a rate of 1.330 million units.

“New single-family building permits, which are the leading indicator of construction of new homes, rose by 4.6 percent in June – the 2nd lowest growth rate in 2018,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater. “There’s been a noticeable slowdown in single-family permit activity this year, and especially the last four months, which have had two of the three lowest readings over the last three years.”

Homebuilder Confidence Strong

Despite the recent data, the National Association of Home Builders released a separate report that showed homebuilder confidence in the U.S. held steady during the month of July. Additionally, the report stated that the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was unchanged in July after dipping to 68 in June.

“Consumer demand for single-family homes is holding strong this summer, buoyed by steady job growth, income gains and low unemployment in many parts of the country,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel.

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