WASHINGTON, July 20, 2004 (Hanley Wood News Service) - Starts for homes fell 8.5 percent nationwide in June, dropping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.802 million units, the Census Bureau reported today.

Single-family starts were off 9.5 percent from May's totals, dropping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.489 million units.

The June fall-off represented the slowest pace for starts since May 2003. While a sign that the economy cooled slightly last month, the total still leaves home building at a healthy level for the year.

Total starts for June 2004 were 2.6 percent below the June 2003 rate of 1.85 million units, while single-family starts trailed June 2003's figure of 1.505 million units by 1.1 percent.

Completetions of single-family homes rose 1.5 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.534 million, the Census Bureau reported. However, when combined with completions for multifamily unites, the overall completion rate fell 3.9 percent from May 2004's total, to a seaonally adjusted annual rate of 1.848 million units.

Total completions for June 2004 were up 11.5 percent from June 2003's total of 1.658 million units.

To view the Census Bureau's complete release of June 2004 starts, completions, and building permits, click here.