Masco Corp. reported lower profits and sales today for the second quarter and attributed the drops to fewer national housing starts.

Delta Faucet’s parent company said second-quarter profits fell almost 14 percent to $189 million. Sales for the quarter also fell 6 percent to $3.15 billion.

North American sales declined 10 percent, while international sales increased 14 percent, the company noted. The North American market was hampered by less consumer interest in “big ticket” home improvement items, “as well as a less favorable product mix and increased commodity cost.”

The company blamed the performance partly on the big decline in housing starts. Masco says it expects 2007 housing starts to be about 1.4 million.