August housing starts increased 0.9%, the Commerce Department said Sept. 18.
Starts rose to an annual rate of 891,000 units in August from a revised 883,000 pace in July that was lower than originally reported.
Building permits, an indicator of future construction activity, fell 3.8% to a 918,000 annual pace.
Economists had forecast an annual rate of 917,000 housing starts in August, Bloomberg News reported.
Single-family-unit construction grew 7% to an annual rate of 628,000 units, the most since February, while multifamily-unit construction dropped 11.1% to an annual rate of 263,000.
Three of four regions saw an decline in starts in August, led by a 10.9% drop in the West. Housing starts increased 12% in the South, Commerce said.