Markets & Economy

Housing starts fall in May

But they were still up 4.7 percent from a year ago

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Single-family housing starts fell in May, but they remained higher than a year before, the Census Bureau reported. Last month, single-family housing starts fell a seasonally adjusted 5.9 percent to 625,000 from a revised level of 664,000 in April, but were up 4.7 percent from a year ago, the bureau said. "Don’t panic about the drop in single-family; looking past the monthly noise, the trend is still upward," wrote Brad Hunter, who heads up consulting at the housing and retail research firm Metrostudy. The conversion rate of traffic through builders' showrooms has improved somewhat recently, and that should help "shore up" housing starts in June and July, Hunter said....