Construction started on new U.S. homes declined 1.6% in November, led down by single-family homes, signaling some market shakiness, according to government data released Tuesday. The annual rate of total housing starts fell to 1.03 million last month from 1.05 million in October, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. The November starts rate for single-family homes fell 5.4% from October's pace, which was the fastest since 2008. Meanwhile, the pace in buildings with at least five units rose 7.6%. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an overall November starts rate of 1.04 million, compared with an originally estimated pace of 1.01 million in October. On Tuesday the government revised October's starts rate to 1.05 million. The pace of overall construction starts was down 7% from the year-earlier period, with drops for single-family homes and apartments, showing weakness in housing's rebound. The annual pace of permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, fell 5.2% in November to 1.04 million, compared with 1.09 million in October, which was the fastest rate since 2008. The permits rate declined 1.2% for single-family homes, and 11.1% for apartments. Economists caution over reading too much into a single monthly home-construction report. A confidence interval of plus or minus 8.1% for November's overall starts drop of 1.6% shows that the government isn't sure whether the pace of construction rose or fell last month.
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