Housing starts and building permits were up in July compared with June data, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today, while the rate of housing completions dropped.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of privately owned housing starts rose 8.3 percent from June to July, with an error margin of 8.4 percent, while the seasonally adjusted rate of building permits jumped 5.7 percent, with a 0.8 percent error margin. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted rate for privately owned housing completions fell 1.3 percent in July from the June estimate, with an 8.2 percent error margin. The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects the monthly total over a 12-month period.

From July 2003 to July 2004, the seasonally adjusted rate of building permits increased 8.6 percent, plus or minus 1 percent; the rate of privately owned housing starts increased 4.5 percent, plus or minus 6.8 percent; and the rate of housing completions increased 9.4 percent, plus or minus 8.2 percent.

The rate of new privately owned housing units authorized in permit-issuing places, when seasonally adjusted, dropped 4.5 percent in the Midwest from July 2003 to July 2004 but increased in the other three regions of the country. In the West, for example, this rate increased 13.7 percent from July 2003 to July 2004. From June 2004 to July 2004, the seasonally adjusted rate of privately owned housing units authorized in permit-issuing places fell 2 percent in the Northeast but increased in the other three regions, with the largest gain – 8.3 percent – reported in the West.

From July 2003 to July 2004 there was a 34.2 percent gain reported in the Northeast in the number of new privately owned housing units authorized but not yet started at the end of the period, according to the federal data, and a 31.3 percent increase in the West during that time. This number dropped 6.7 percent in the Midwest. The Midwest and South, though, had slight growth in the number of new privately owned housing units authorized but not started at the end of the period from June 2004 to July 2004, while the Northeast and West saw month-to-month declines in this statistic.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new privately owned housing units started rose 15.7 percent in the Northeast and 15.8 percent in the West from June 2004 to July 2004 but dropped 4.3 percent in both the Midwest and South regions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. And this statistic dropped 14.1 percent from July 2003 to July 2004 in the Midwest while rising 21.5 percent in the West.

Also, the seasonally adjusted rate of new privately owned housing units under construction at the end of the period dropped 0.9 percent in the Midwest from June 2004 to July 2004 but increased in the other three regions of the nation. And from July 2003 to July 2004, the South had an 18.2 percent gain in this rate, the largest among all U.S. regions.

From July 2003 to July 2004, the Northeast had a 1.4 percent decline in new privately owned housing units completed while the South had an 18 percent gain. And from June 2004 to July 2004 the Northeast had a 22.2 percent drop in the rate of new privately owned housing units completed, while the Midwest had a gain of 6.7 percent.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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