The number of housing units on which construction was completed fell 7.8% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.282 million, the Commerce Department reported.

It was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in housing completions and the lowest rate in almost two years.

But the agency raised its estimate of May's rate slightly, to 1.391 million units from an originally reported 1.372 million.

In April, though, housing completions were reported to have fallen a revised 0.7% compared with the government's previous estimate of a 0.3% drop.

All four regions showed declines for June-22.1% in the Northeast, 8.1% in the West, 6% in the Midwest, and 4.7% in the South.

In June builders put finishing touches on 22.3% fewer multifamily houses than a month earlier, while completions of single-family houses fell 4.1%.

But housing starts rose in June, the first gain since April and a sign that demand for housing could continue to increase as the third quarter progresses. Starts jumped 4.8% in June to an annual rate of 1.452 million after declining 6.6% in May.

- Bloomberg News

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