New US residential building slowed sharply in March after February’s surprise surge, dimming hopes that the property slump might be ending.

Housing starts fell for the eighth time in nine months, dropping 10.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual 510,000, commerce department figures showed yesterday.

The fall, which was worse than analysts had expected, was due to a big drop in building multifamily homes. Single-family starts were unchanged in March.

Financial Times, New York Times, Los Angeles Times