While the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing an unexpected slump in housing starts in the month of July, the report also showed a much bigger than expected increase in building permits.
The report said housing starts tumbled by 4.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.191 million from the revised June estimate of 1.241 million.
The drop surprised economists, who had expected housing starts to edge up by 0.3 percent to a rate of 1.257 million from the 1.253 million originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said building permits spiked by 8.4 percent to a rate of 1.336 million in July from a revised 1.232 million in June.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to jump by 4.1 percent to 1.270 million from the 1.220 million originally reported for the previous month.