Housing starts and completions dropped from August to September, while building permits were up in that same period, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for privately owned housing starts dipped 6 percent, plus or minus 5.2 percent, from August to September, while the seasonally adjusted annual rate for privately owned housing completions fell 6.2 percent, plus or minus 5.4 percent, since August. This seasonally adjusted rate projects a monthly total over a 12-month period. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for authorized building permits increased 1.8 percent above the August rate, plus or minus 0.9 percent.

The rate for housing starts was down 1.2 percent, plus or minus 5.9 percent, from the September 2003 rate; housing completions were up 5.5 percent, plus or minus 7.6 percent, from the September 2003 rate; and building permits were up 3.2 percent, plus or minus 1.1 percent, since September 2003. Single-family housing starts were down 8.2 percent, plus or minus 5.1 percent, from August 2004 to September 2004; single-family housing completions were up 0.1 percent during this time, plus or minus 7.9 percent; and single-family building permit authorizations were up 0.1 percent, plus or minus 0.8 percent.

Housing starts, when seasonally adjusted over a 12-month period, reached an annual high of 2.02 million in August and a three-year high of 2.07 million in December 2003. The seasonally adjusted rate of housing starts was down 26.9 percent in the Northeast from August 2004 to September 2004, and dropped 13.1 percent in the West during that time. The slightest dip, at 1 percent, was reported in the South.

The greatest decline in the seasonally adjusted rate of housing completions from August 2004 to September 2004 was 20 percent, reported in the Midwest. The greatest gain, of 1.8 percent, was reported in the West. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new privately-owned housing units authorized jumped 10.9 percent in the Northeast from August 2004 to September 2004 and increased 6.3 percent in the Midwest, while this rate dropped 1.3 percent in the West.

And the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new privately owned housing units under construction at the end of September 2004 remained flat nationwide when compared to the August 2004 rate but was up 12.3 percent from the September 2003 rate.

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