The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said today that nationwide housing starts fell 5.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units.

The NAHB attributed the drop in production mainly to Multifamily starts which fell 9.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 289,000 units while single-family production edged down 3.9 percent to 794,000.

The West is the only region in the country that saw a slight uptick in production with an increase of 1.3%. Housing starts dropped by 9.2% in the Midwest and 8.8% in the South.

The issuance of building permits is another method to gauge future building activity. The NAHB said that regionally, overall permits increased by 3.3% in the Northeast. Permits decreased by 9.4% in the Midwest, 0.3%t in the South and 13.1% in the West.

The chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas, Granger MacDonald had said, “Today’s report is consistent with builder sentiment in the housing market, indicating some weakness after a strong start to the year. Ongoing job growth, rising demand and low mortgage rates should keep the single-family sector moving forward this year, even as builders deal with ongoing shortages of lots and labor.”

“After a strong start for single-family building this year, recent months have recorded softer readings,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, on a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are up 7.2 percent as builders add inventory to the market.”

“Overall permit issuance in May was down 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units. Single-family permits inched down 1.9 percent to 779,000 units while multifamily permits fell 10.4 percent to 389,000.