lots salesThe pace of U.S home construction slipped in May with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses.

Builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down 6.5% from 1.07 million in April.

Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month.

BUILDING PERMITS
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 991,000. This is 6.4% (±0.8%) below the revised April rate of 1,059,000 and is 1.9% (±1.4%) below the May 2013 estimate of 1,010,000.

Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 619,000; this is 3.7% (±1.2%) above the revised April figure of 597,000.

Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 347,000 in May.

HOUSING STARTS
Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,001,000. This is 6.5% (±10.2%)* below the revised April estimate of 1,071,000, but is 9.4% (±11.0%)* above the May 2013 rate of 915,000.

Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 625,000; this is 5.9% (±12.7%)* below the revised April figure of 664,000.

The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 366,000.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS
Privately-owned housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 897,000. This is 6.8% (±12.7%)*above the revised April estimate of 840,000 and is 24.8% (±17.1%) above the May 2013 rate of 719,000.

Single-family housing completions in May were at a rate of 618,000; this is 2.1% (±11.4%)* above the revised April rate of 605,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 269,000.

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