Housing starts drag their feet in May

U.S. housing starts declined for the third straight month in May, falling below projections, as well as below month- and year-ago levels.

Total housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,092,000, 5.5% below the revised April estimate of 1,156,000, and 2.4% below May 2016.

Single-family starts were at a rate of 794,000, down 3.9% from April's revised rate of 826,000.

Starts were primarily impacted by a lull in activity in the South and Midwest, though single-family starts were at their lowest level since September.

Activity in the Northeast was flat, with single-family starts jumping 12.5%. Starts also jumped 1.3% in the West.

As for permits, new authorizations came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,168,000, 4.9% below April's revised rate of 1,228,000, and 0.8% below May 2016.

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