Housing starts and completions were higher in October than the previous month, while building permits fell during the same period, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for privately owned housing starts in October rose approximately 6.4 percent to 2.03 million units. Single-family housing starts in October were at a rate of 1.65 million units, a gain of approximately 5.7 percent compared to the September figure of 1.56 million. The October estimate for units in buildings with five units or more was 338,000.

Regionally, starts posted the biggest gain, of 20 percent, in the Northeast, followed by an 8.6 percent boost in the Midwest, a 5 percent lift in the West and a 4 percent improvement in the South.

Privately owned housing completions in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.83 million, up approximately 2.7 percent from the revised September estimate of 1.78 million. Single-family housing completions in October were at a rate of 1,538,000, down approximately 0.1 percent from the September figure of 1,539,000. The October rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 271,000.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in October fell approximately 0.7 percent to 1.98 million, down from the revised September rate of 1.99 million and down approximately 1.5 percent from the October 2003 estimate of 2.01 million.

Single-family authorizations in October were at a rate of 1.52 million, which is approximately 2.2 percent below the September figure of 1.56 million. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 364,000 in October.

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