U.S. housing starts fell less than expected in October as a drop in groundbreaking for multi-family units narrowly outweighed more new construction of single family homes.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday housing starts edged down 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000 units. Analysts had expected the annual rate would fall to 610,000.

Housing starts for buildings with two or more units fell 8.3 percent to a 198,000-unit rate. Single-family home construction -- which accounts for a larger share of the market -- increased 3.9 percent to a 430,000-unit pace.

(Reporting by Jason Lange, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

(jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 310 5487; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.reuters.com@reuters.net))