The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released their new residential construction report for May 2012. According to the data, housing starts are up 28.5 percent above last year’s level but down 4.8 percent from April’s revised rate. The drop, mainly due to declines in multifamily construction, masks a 3.2 percent improvement in single-family housing starts from the month before. Building permits also rose, climbing 7.9 percent above April’s rate and 25.0 percent over May 2011. Permits to build single-family homes increased 4.0 percent in May. More here and here.