Single-family housing starts rose 4.7% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.70 million from a downwardly revised April rate of 1.63 million.The U.S. Census Bureau also reported that single-family starts in May were up 3.3% from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million in May 2004. The National Association of Home Builders said its latest survey shows that homebuilders are more confident now than they've been all year. "In the past four weeks, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage declined 21 basis points, ending at 5.56% as of June 9," said NAHB chief economist David Seiders. "Combined with the very solid appreciation rates we've seen, and the widespread expectation that mortgage rates will begin creeping up soon, that's a powerful incentive to make a move." The Census Bureau also reported that multifamily starts dropped 19.1% in May, to 266,000 units.

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