There was a 5.8 percent drop in housing starts from February to March, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.
Bloomberg News says the decline was unexpected and left starts at a five-month low.
Still, the number of starts was up 10.3 percent from March 2011.
Looking ahead, the data are more positive. The number of building permits issued rose 4.5 percent from February to March and was up 30.1 percent from March 2011. Permits are at their highest level in the past 3 1/2 years, Reuters says.