“We expected a much bigger rebound in starts after June’s surprise plunge – which was revised down – so this is disappointing,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macro. “The bigger picture, though, is less encouraging. The trend in permits is flat, at best, and the downward trend in the NAHB index of homebuilder sentiment and activity suggests that no near-term recovery is likely. Housing is the sole weak spot in the economy right now, and that’s probably not going to change.”

Related: Richmond Fed President Says Rates Must Keep Rising

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