New US housing starts rose an unexpected 9.1% in June, but economists warned against interpreting the increase as evidence of a bottoming of the residential property market.

The commerce department said yesterday the surge to a pace of 1.066m units was driven by multi-family construction in New York. Meanwhile, single-family housing starts across the country dropped 5.3% and overall new home construction, setting aside multi-family homes in the north-east, dropped 4%.

Financial Times