Japan's housing starts declined for the second straight month in July, though at a slower-than-expected rate, data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism revealed Friday.
Housing starts dropped 0.7 percent annually in July, well below the 7.1 percent sharp decrease in June.
Economists had expected a 4.3 percent fall for the month.
Annualized housing starts rose to 958,000 from 915,000 in the previous month. The expected level was 924,000.
Data also showed that construction orders received by big 50 contractors fell 9.3 percent year-on-year in July, faster than the 6.5 percent decline in June.