Housing starts fell 6.8% in March

Residential building permits, which can signal future home construction, rose 3.6%

By Laura Kusisto and Ben Leubsdorf | The Wall Street Journal

U.S. housing starts declined in March, but not enough to signal a reversal from the long-term trend of improvement in new home construction.

Starts decreased 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The decline comes after an unusually strong winter, buoyed by temperate weather in most parts of the country. Single-family housing starts in February hit their highest level since October 2007.

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