U.S. private housing starts fell 5.3% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,201,000 in September from the revised estimate of 1,268,000 in August, according to preliminary data from the Department of Commerce's Census Bureau.
Econoday had forecast housing starts would decline to 1,216,000.
Year over year, housing starts rose 3.7% from 1,158,000.
Single-family housing starts fell 0.9% to 871,000 from August's revised 879,000. The rate for buildings with five units or more dropped to 324,000 from 372,000.
Housing units authorized by building permits dipped 0.6% to 1,241,000 from 1,249,000. On an annual basis, they were down 1.0%.
Authorizations of single-family housing units increased by 2.9% to 851,000 from 827,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more fell to 351,000 from 387,000.