The numbers: Construction on new homes rose slightly in May, but high lumber prices and labor shortages have stymied builders and could leave many customers frustrated as the busy U.S. summer home-buying season gets underway.
Builders started construction on new homes at a 1.57 million annual pace in May, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.
In other words, that’s how many houses would be started in a year if construction companies did the same amount of work every month as they did in May.
The increase was somewhat of mirage, however. April’s originally reported increase of 1.57 million was trimmed to 1.52 million.
Permits to build new homes, meanwhile, fell 3% last month in another sign of the trouble builders are running into. They slipped to an annual rate of 1.68 million from a revised 1.73 million in April.
Big picture: Demand for new homes is sky high with the economy recovering from the pandemic and mortgage interest…