Construction of new U.S. homes dipped slightly last month, missing expectations, in a sign that the building industry's recovery from the housing bust is likely to be bumpy and gradual.
The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments fell 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 581,000 units, from an upwardly revised rate of 587,000 in June. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected a pace of 600,000 units.
While construction of single-family homes rose 1 percent, multifamily properties slid by more than 13 percent.
Applications for building permits, an indicator of future activity, fell 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 560,000 units. Economists expected an annual rate of 580,000 units.