Privately owned housing starts rose in May, but permits for new projects dropped slightly, the U.S. Department of Commerce said Tuesday.
Building starts for private homes have yet to regain the 1 million mark that was surpassed in March before slipping in April.
In May, building starts rose to 914,000, which is 6.8 percent above April's revised figure of 856,000 and 28.6 percent above May 2012, when 711,000 home project starts were posted.
Before reaching the 1 million mark in March, housing starts for privately-owned homes had not reached 1 million in a month since June 2008.
Single-family housing starts in May rose to 599,000, which is 0.3 percent above April's revised figure of 597,000. Building starts for projects with five apartments or more came to 306,000 in May, the monthly report said.
In May, permits were issued for 974,000 building projects, 3.1 percent below the revised April rate of 1,005,000.
Permits issued, however, were 20.8 percent above May 2012.
The data are reflected in the National Association of Home Builders' confidence index. The trade group said Monday that for the first time since April 2006, more home builders in the month of June viewed business conditions as favorable than those who considered conditions as poor.
Housing project completions in May slipped 0.9 percent from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 690,000, the department said in a release issued jointly by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In the report each unit is considered one housing start, so initiating construction on a building with 30 apartments is considered 30 housing starts.