U.S. Housing Starts Dwindle in Sept.

Home building south of the border fell to a one-year low last month as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma disrupted the construction of single-family homes in the South, suggesting that housing probably remained a drag on economic growth during 2018's third quarter.

Figures released Wednesday morning revealed housing starts decreased 4.7% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.127 million units. That was the lowest level since September 2016 and followed August's upwardly revised pace of 1.183 million units.

Groundbreaking tumbled 9.3% in the South to the lowest level since October 2015, with single-family home building in the region tumbling 15.3% to more than a one-year low. The South accounts for almost half of the nation's home building.

Building permits fell 4.5% to a rate of 1.215 million units in September.

Economists had forecast housing starts falling to a rate of 1.175 million units last month and building permits falling to a rate of 1.250 million units.

Experts also say that, even before the storms struck, residential construction had almost stagnated this year amid shortages of land and skilled labour as well as rising costs of building materials.