Housing starts dropped for the second month in a row in June, this time even more sharply -- at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000, starts were down 9.3% from May's downwardly revised rate of 985,000.
The decrease rode almost entirely on the back of the southern United States, which dropped 29.6% since May. Every other region of the country posted increases, led by a 28.1% gain in the Midwest.
Despite the surprisingly steep drop, June's starts were still a 7.5% improvement over last year's rate of 831,000.
In terms of single-family starts, a rate of 575,000 registered a 9.0% drop from May's revised figure of 632,000.
Building permits also fell, but not as much. Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits clocked in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 963,000, 4.2% below May's rate and 2.7% above June 2013's estimate.