March 18, 2020 / 12:42 PM / 10 days ago

U.S. housing starts fall less than expected in February

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. homebuilding fell in February, likely as the boost from unseasonably warm weather faded, and could continue to weaken as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts economic activity.

Housing starts dropped 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.599 million units last month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Data for January was revised higher to show homebuilding increasing to a pace of 1.624 million units instead of dropping to 1.567 million units as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts falling to a pace of 1.500 million units in February.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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