The number of housing starts in the US dropped in August by five per cent, compared to July, and were down by 5.8 per cent year-on-year, the latest figures from the US Department of Commerce show.

However, the number of building permits issued increased on both a monthly and an annual basis, by 3.2 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.

Acting US commerce secretary Rebecca Blank commented: We know the market is volatile and struggling, which reinforces the urgent need to take action to put more people back into work and put more money in the pockets of American families.

Experts at Capital Economics noted that the fall in housing starts just adds to other evidence that the US residential real estate market is struggling.

Analysts at the organisation pointed out that these figures, coupled with recent declines in consumer confidence and mortgage lending, indicate that demand for new properties is close to rock bottom.