The annual pace of new housing starts in the U.S. slipped 0.9 percent from May (1.265 million units) to June (1.253 million units) but remains 6.2 percent higher versus the same time last year (1.180 million units) with the pace of construction for structures with five or more units having slumped 9.4 percent versus a 3.5 percent increase for single-family homes.

But perhaps more telling, permitting activity to start construction, which is a forward-looking metric, dropped 6.1 percent to an annualized rate of 1.220 million units in June, which is down 6.6 percent on a year-over-year basis and a two-year low.

And in the west, housing starts are down 9.6 percent on a year-over-year basis to 312,000 units in June, with new permit activity down 4.0 percent to 313,000 and the inventory of previously permitted but yet to break ground units up 17.1 percent to 48,000.

And in San Francisco, starts are up while the pace of sales is down.

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