U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in June as construction activity increased broadly, but a downward revision to the prior month’s data pointed to a housing sector treading water in the second quarter.
Groundbreaking surged 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.19 million units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. May’s starts were revised down to a 1.14 million-unit pace from the previously reported 1.16 million-unit pace.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a 1.17 million-unit pace last month.
Housing starts in the second quarter were a touch higher than the average for the first three months of the year, suggesting that residential construction was probably a small boost to gross domestic product in the second quarter.
The housing market is being supported by a strengthening labor market and demand for rental accommodation, but home building is being constrained by labor and land shortages.
A survey of homebuilders published on Monday showed scattered softness in some markets, with builders citing regulatory challenges, as well as shortages of lots and labor.
Groundbreaking on single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, increased 4.4 percent to a 778,000-unit pace in June. Single-family starts in the South, where most home building takes place, gained 0.5 percent.
Single-family starts jumped 31.6 percent in the Northeast and climbed 3.1 percent in West. Groundbreaking on single-family housing projects increased 7.3 percent in the Midwest.
But single-family home construction continues to run ahead of permits, which could limit gains in the near term.
Housing starts for the volatile multi-family segment rose 5.4 percent to a 411,000-unit pace. The multi-family segment of the market continues to be supported by strong demand for rental accommodation as some Americans remain wary of homeownership in the aftermath of the housing market collapse.