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Exorbitant lumber hampers U.S. homebuilding

U.S. homebuilding rebounded less than expected in May as exorbitant lumber prices and scarce materials continued to hamper the ability of homebuilders to take advantage of an acute shortage of houses on the market.

The report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday also showed permits for future home construction falling to a seven-month low.

The number of homes authorized for construction but not yet started rose to the highest level since 1999, indicating supply will likely remain tight for a while and boost home price inflation.

Demand for bigger and more expensive accommodations amid the health crisis is driving a housing market boom.

House prices have increased by the most in more than 15 years on an annual basis, raising concerns that some first-time buyers could be priced out of the market.

The inventory of previously owned homes is near record lows.

And - a survey from the National Association of Home Builders on Tuesday showed confidence among single-family homebuilders fell to a 10-month low in June.

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