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Contracts for new single-family home sales declined 3.4% in August to a 560,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. This was the second month of decline for the pace of new home sales and the weakest rate since December of last year.

The pace of single-family starts posted a slight gain in August, albeit over downwardly revised estimates of the rate of July construction. Nonetheless, the three-month moving average for single-family starts is at a post-recession high of 849,000 as the gradual recovery in home building continues. Total starts declined almost 1% in August to a 1.180 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. The headline decline was due to multifamily production decreases, although the July multifamily reading was revised upward from a 299,000 pace to 352,000. Single-family starts increased, rising slightly to an 851,000 seasonally adjusted rate in August.