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Home construction picks up in April

Monthly gains strongest for privately owned housing starts

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Although building permits and housing starts increased between March and April they were still significantly lower than a year ago, according to a government report released today. The report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 978,000, up 4.9 percent from March's rate of 932,000. However, this is 34.3 percent below the April 2007 estimate of 1.49 million. The seasonally adjusted rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in construction activity. Single-family authorizations, in particular, increased 4 percent between March and April, rising from a rate of 621,000 to a rate of 646,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more recorded a rate of 294,000 in April, down from 350,000 in April 2007. The report found that privatel...