Privately owned housing starts in March were up 15.2 percent above the March 2003 rate, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today. Regionally, new privately-owned housing starts were up about 19 percent in the West and 16.1 percent in the South from March 2003 to March 2004. Privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.01 million, up from 1.74 million in March 2003. Meanwhile, single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 1.6 million, a 5.5 percent rise above the February figure.


Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.95 million, a 15.3 percent rise above the March 2003 estimate of 1.69 million.


Housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.75 million, a 7.9 percent increase over the March 2003 rate of 1.62 million. And single-family housing completions were at 1.46 million in March, while the March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 271,000, the agencies reported.


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