Housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million, a 2.6 percent decrease from the March rate of 1.2 million but 0.7 percent above the April 2016 rate of 1.16 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The drop was due to multifamily unit starts, which at a rate of 328,000 in April represented a decrease of 9.6 percent compared with the March rate of 363,000 and a decline of 14.6 percent compared with the April 2016 rate 384,000.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 835,000, a 0.4 percent month-over-month increase. The rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 328,000.

"While we saw a little pause in market growth this month, single-family production is still up 7 percent since the start of 2017," said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in a statement. "The April report falls in line with our forecast for continued, gradual strengthening of the single-family sector throughout the year."