WASHINGTON — Housing starts dropped 5 percent to a three-month-low annual rate of 571,000 in August, the Commerce Department said yesterday.
Building permits, a proxy for future construction, unexpectedly climbed, rising 3.2 percent to a 620,000 annual rate. That was the highest this year and a sign construction may stabilize. Permits climbed in three of four regions, led by an 11.3 percent jump in the West. They climbed 6.3 percent in the Midwest and 3.3 percent in the Northeast.