US housing starts edge down

US housing starts fell less than expected in July as builders broke ground on new multifamily units likely to meet demand for rental apartments, while permits for future construction dropped, a government report showed yesterday. Housing starts were down 1.5 per cent to 604,000 in July from a downwardly revised 613,000 in June. Meanwhile, import prices in the US were up 0.3 per cent largely due to fuel costs.