Groundbreaking for new U.S. home construction slumped 6.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.001 million units as building permits dropped 6.4% to an annual rate of 991,000 units, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday.

The rate for housing starts fell short of the 1.036 million level predicted by Thomson Reuters' poll of economists. Thomson had projected a 1.055 million rate for permits.

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