Construction started on new U.S. homes fell 2.8% in October, led down by volatile apartment building, according to government data released Wednesday. The annual rate of total housing starts declined to 1.01 million last month from 1.04 million in September, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. The October starts rate in buildings with at least five units dropped 15.5%. Meanwhile, construction starts for single-family homes rose 4.2% to hit the highest pace since November 2013. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an overall October starts rate of 1.03 million, compared with an originally estimated pace of 1.02 million in September. The pace of overall construction starts was up 7.8% from the year-earlier period, signaling a continuation of the market's rebound. The annual pace of permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, rose 4.8% in October to 1.08 million -- the highest rate since June 2008 -- from 1.03 million in September. The permits rate rose 1.4% for single-family homes, and 8% for apartments. Economists caution over reading too much into a single monthly home-construction report. A confidence interval of plus or minus 10% for October's overall starts drop of 2.8% shows that the government isn't sure whether the pace of construction rose or fell last month.
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