June 18 (UPI) -- New home construction fell in May after a strong April, while permits for future home construction increased slightly.
Overall, housing starts didn't fall as much as some predicted, signaling that the recent drop in mortgage rates could be making houses more affordable. The Federal Reserve begins meeting Tuesday to reevaluate interest rates.
Housing starts were down 0.9 percent in May compared with April, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Looking back at May 2018, new housing starts were down 4.7 percent, a significant drop that shows lower demand for new housing.
Housing completions were down 9.5 percent below April and 2.8 percent below the May 2018 number.
Building permits, a good indicator for the future, were up 0.3 percent in May compared to April. Looking back at May 2018, housing permits are down 0.5 percent.
The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in the United States was 4.2 percent at the end of May, down 0.2 percent from March.