Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of approximately 2.1 million units, according to estimates reported today by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau, up 3.5 percent above the revised April rate of 2 million units and 12.5 percent above the May 2003 estimate of 1.85 million units.

Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 1.6 million, a 3 percent increase from the April figure of 1.5 million.

Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 390,000 in April.

Privately owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.97 million units. This is 0.7 percent below the revised April estimate of 1.98 million, but is 12.5 percent above the May 2003 rate of 1.75 million.

Single-family housing starts in May 2004 were at a rate of 1.64 million, up 1.4 percent from the April figure of 1.62 million.

The May estimate for units in buildings with five units or more was 272,000.

Privately owned housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.92 million, according to Census Bureau estimates. This is 1.1 percent below the revised April estimate of 1.94 million, but is 11 percent above the May 2003 rate of 1.73 million.

Single-family housing completions in May 2004 were at a rate of 1.52 million; this is 8.3 percent below the April figure of 1.7 million. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 376,000.

***

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