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Home-building in June sharply slid, with overall starts toppling 12.3 percent, and single-family starts tumbling 9.1 percent, according to the Commerce Department. Housing starts totaled 1.17 million, with 304,000 multifamily (five or units or more) starts and 858,000 single-family starts.

Additionally, approvals for builds fell 2.2 percent to 1.27 million permits; however, approvals for single-family starts were up, 0.8 percent to 850,000. Approvals for multifamily starts came in at 387,000.

Completions were unchanged, virtually, at 1.26 million.

“The concern over material costs, especially lumber, is making it more difficult to build homes at competitive price points, particularly for newcomers entering the housing market,” said Michael Neal, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “Moreover, the soft permit report does not suggest a significant increase in housing production in the near term; however, consumer demand for single-family housing continues to increase as the overall economy and labor market strengthen.”

“We have been warning the Administration for months that the ongoing increases in lumber prices stemming from both the tariffs and profiteering this year are having a strong impact on builders’ ability to meet growing consumer demand,” said Randy Noel, chairman of the NAHB. “This is why we continue to urge senior officials to take leadership and resolve this issue.”

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