WASHINGTON - The decline in housing starts reported yesterday surprised many analysts, who the number shows that skittish consumers continue to bold back the housing market as well, as the entire economy.

Analysts had expected housing starts figures for July to show a 2% to 3% gain. However, the Commerce Department's report report shows housing starts fell 2.8%, while the previously reported drop of 3.2% in June was revised to 3.8%.

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