New home construction surged to a five-month high in September, but permits for future building fell to their lowest level in more than a year, the government said Tuesday.
Housing starts, or the number of new homes being built, rose 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 in September, up from a revised 608,000 in August, the Commerce Department said.
Economists were expecting a rate of 579,000 housing starts, according to a consensus estimate from Briefing.com.
The number of new homes being built in August was up 4.1 percent from a year ago.
Permits for future construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 last month, down 5.6 percent from August. Economists were expecting 565,000 permits in September.
The last time building permits fell below 550,000 was in May 2009.
Year-over-year, permits were down 10.9 percent.