Fewer Housing Starts In June

By John S. McClenahen As temperatures in much of the West and South heated up during June, U.S. housing starts cooled to their lowest level since May 2003. Starts for privately owned housing were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.802 million last month, 8.5% below the revised May figure of 1.97 million, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported July 20. "Whether the drop owed to higher interest rates, unsupportive weather or just plain normal volatility is uncertain," says UBS Investment Research, New York. Starts for single-family homes were at a rate of 1.489 million in June, 9.5% below their May figure of 1.645 million, while starts for buildings with five or more units actually rose 4.1% to an annual rate of 281,000.

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