Economic Report: Housing starts tumble 9% as sturdy recovery remains elusive

Fixes story to reflect the correct agency reporting the data.

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Single-family starts improved in September, but starts for apartments plunged.

Builders broke ground on the fewest new homes in a year and a half in September, another setback as the housing market struggles for sustainable momentum.

Housing starts ran at an annual 1.047 million pace, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was 9% lower than in August and 11.9% lower than a year ago. It was the slowest pace of starts since March 2015. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 1.18 million pace.

The stumble in starts was slightly offset by a surge in building permits, which foreshadows a stronger pace of construction in the future.

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