Privately owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million, a 5.5 percent decrease compared with the April rate of 1.15 million and 2.4 percent below the May 2016 rate of 1.11 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Single-family housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 794,000, 3.9 percent below the April rate of 826,000 but 8.5 percent above the May 2016 rate of 732,000. The rate of multifamily unit starts was 284,000, a 9.8 percent decrease compared with April’s rate of 315,000 and a 25.7 percent drop compared with the May 2016 rate of 382,000.

"After a strong start for single-family building this year, recent months have recorded softer readings," said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in a statement. "However, on a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are up 7.2 percent as builders add inventory to the market."