Single-family housing starts rose in May for the third straight month while multifamily activity fell 24% from April's construction pace.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday morning that single-family starts rose 3.2% in May to a 516,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from a 500,000 rate in April. The April figure was revised upward by 8,000 units.

Overall, single-family starts rose 26% from a year ago.

Multifamily construction activity is more volatile and often bounces up and down from month to month, sometimes by large margins.

In May, construction of multifamily units fell to a 179,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate from a 236,000 rate in April.

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