The number of building permits, housing starts and housing completions in April all exceeded April 2003 numbers by more than 10 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced in a monthly report on residential construction, but April 2004 building permits and housing starts were down from the prior month’s totals.

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April 2004 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2 million, according to Census Bureau estimates, which is 1.2 percent above the revised March 2004 rate and 11.2 percent above the April 2003 estimate of 1.8 million.

Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 1.5 million, which is 0.7 percent below the March figure, while authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 354,000 in April.

Privately owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.96 million, which is 2.1 percent below the revised March estimate but is 20.3 percent above the April 2003 rate. Single-family housing starts in April 2004 were at a rate of 1.6 million, which is 0.6 percent below the March figure of 1.62 million. The April estimate for units in buildings with five units or more was 315,000.

Privately owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.9 million, which is 8.9 percent above the revised March estimate and 16.8 percent above the April 2003 rate. Single-family housing completions in April 2004 were at a rate of 1.7 million, or 11.9 percent above the March figure. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 255,000.

There is a margin of error with the data, and on average the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised about 1 percent.

New residential construction data for May will be released on Wednesday, June 16, 2004.

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