Bloomberg News
Close to a two-year low, privately‐owned housing starts fell by more than 14% year over year in March, the U.S. Census and Commerce Department reported Friday.

Privately‐owned housing starts fell by more than 14% year over year in March, the U.S. Census and Commerce Department reported Friday.

The housing starts dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.139 million -- .3% below the revised February estimate of 1.142 million and 14.2% below the March 2018 rate of more than 1.3 million.

That number was a big miss, according to a poll by Reuters of economists who had predicted housing starts to rise to 1.230 million units in March, Reuters reported on Friday.

Single‐family housing starts in March also fell, to a rate of 785,000. That's .4% below the revised February figure of 788,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 337,000.

The number of March building permits for privately‐owned housing dipped as well to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,269,000. That's a 1.7% drop from the revised February rate. It's also a 7.8% fall from the March 2018 rate.

Single‐family housing authorized in March fell to 808,000, or 1.1% below the revised February figures.