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.

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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.