The drop was largely due to lower numbers of multifamily developments begun in the month, the HUD and Commerce Dept. data reveals. This sector was down 9.7% compared to a 3.9% drop for single-family homes.
“After a strong start for single-family building this year, recent months have recorded softer readings,” said National Association of Home Builders’ Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, on a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are up 7.2% as builders add inventory to the market.”
Single and multifamily starts were up 1.3% in the West in May, down 9.2% in the Midwest and 8.8% in the South. They were unchanged in the Northeast.
Permits issued were also down, by 4.9% nationally to a SAAR of 1.17 million units. They were up 3.3% in the Northeast, but down 9.4% in the Midwest, 0.3% in the South and 13.1% in the West.
Housing completions were up 14.6% to a SAAR of 1.164 million units.
More market update:
Housing starts were down 5.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.09 million units.