New home construction fell 11.7% in October, hitting its lowest level in 18 months, CNNMoney reported.
Housing starts plunged to 519,000 in October, down from a revised 588,000 in September and well below the 600,000 that economists were expecting. According to the Commerce Department, the rate is the lowest since April 2009, when it fell to 477,000 starts. It’s also the third lowest rate in more than 50 years.
Economists weren’t expecting a particularly strong report, but many were surprised by just how bad it was.
“We were expecting a pullback,” said Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo. “The surprise was that it came down as much as it did.”