Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.17 million, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today. This is about 1.6 percent above the revised June rate of 2.13 million and is about 2.5 percent above the July 2004 estimate of 2.11 million.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects a monthly total over a 12-month period and accounts for seasonal fluctuations in statistics.

Single-family authorizations in July were at a rate of 1.69 million; this is about 2 percent above the June figure of 1.65 million. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 381,000 in July.

Privately owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.04 million. This is about 0.1 percent below the revised June estimate of 2.05 million but is about 2.8 percent above the July 2004 rate of 1,986,000.

Single-family housing starts in July 2005 were at a rate of 1.71 million; this is about 0.5 percent above the June figure of 1.7 million and about 3 percent above the July 2004 figure. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 289,000, HUD and the Census Bureau reported.

Privately owned housing completions in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.83 million. This is about 6.3 percent below the revised June estimate of 1.96 million and is about 2.9 percent below the July 2004 rate of 1.89 million. Single-family housing completions in July 2005 were at a rate of 1.61 million; this is about 3.6 percent below the June figure of 1.67 million. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 189,000.

Regionally, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new privately owned housing units authorized in permit-issuing places increased about 4.4 percent in the Midwest, 2.7 percent in the South, 2.1 percent in the West and dropped 1 percent in the Northeast from July 2004 to July 2005, according to the announcement.

And the rate of new privately-owned housing units authorized but not started at end of period increased 25.7 percent in the West, 14.8 percent in the Midwest, 8.2 percent in the South and 7.9 percent in the Northeast from July 2004 to July 2005.

The rate of new privately owned housing units started was up 9.6 percent in the South, 7.7 percent in the Northeast, 6.3 percent in the Midwest and down 11.8 percent in the West from July 2004 to July 2005.

The Census Bureau noted that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movements. It may take four months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, six months for total starts, and six months for total completions, for example. The statistics are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, non-reporting, and under-coverage.

On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised about 1 percent.

***

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

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