WASHINGTON (AP) -- The pace of U.S home construction slipped in May with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses.
The Commerce Department says builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes. That was down 6.5 percent from 1.07 million in April.
Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month.
Building tailed off in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Only the South experienced greater construction activity in May.
Housing starts have risen 9.4 percent over the past 12 months. But apartments account for most of the gains, suggesting that more Americans will be renting instead of owning homes.
Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, fell 6.4 percent in May to an annual rate of 991,000.