Single-family starts, the largest segment of the market declined 3.9 percent to 794 thousand and the volatile multi-family segment shrank 9.8 percent to 284 thousand. Starts slumped in the Midwest (-9.2 percent to 168 thousand) and the South (-8.8 percent to 526 thousand) and were flat in the Northeast at 87 thousand. In contrast, starts rose 1.3 percent to 311 thousand in the West.
Also, building permits dropped 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1168 thousand from 1228 thousand in April and way below market expectations of 1247 thousand. It is the lowest figure since April last year, as single-family authorizations declined 1.9 percent to 779 thousand and authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more fell 10.1 percent to 358 thousand. Among regions, building permits decreased in the West (-13.1 percent to 293 thousand), the Midwest (-9.4 percent to 174 thousand) and the South (-0.3 percent to 577 thousand) but rose in the Northeast (3.3 percent to 124 thousand).