U.S. housing starts unexpectedly fell 5.8 percent in March to a 654,000-unit, seasonally-adjusted, annual rate, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday.

That was below the Bloomberg News consensus estimate of a 700,000-unit rate.

However, building permits -- an indication of future home-building activity -- rose 4.5 percent to a 747,000-unit-rate in March from a revised 715,000-unit-rate rate in February.

Details to follow.