WASHINGTON, July 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. homebuilders broke ground on fewer houses in June and applications for building permits also fell compared with the prior month, U.S. Department of Commerce reported on Thursday.
U.S. privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 last month. It was 9.3 percent below the revised May estimate of 985,000, but was 7.5 percent above the year-ago level.
Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 575,000, 9 percent below the revised May figure of 632,000. Housing starts with five or more units sharply fell by 11.3 percent from May.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits, a gauge of future construction, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 963,000, down 4.2 percent from the revised May rate. It remained 2.7 percent above the June 2013 estimate.
The U.S. housing market has showed signs of slowdown since the second half of last year, as sharp increases in home prices and limited inventories, as well as higher mortgage rates have discouraged many home buyers.