Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 2.19 million, which is 2.4 percent above the revised August rate of about 2.14 million and is 7.4 percent above the September 2004 estimate of 2.04 million, the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

Single-family authorizations in September were at a rate of about 1,749,000; this is 4.4 percent above the August figure of 1,676,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of about 352,000 in September, which represents a 4.3 percent drop since September 2004.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate is used to project a monthly total over a 12-month period, accounting for seasonal fluctuations.

Privately owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 2,108,000. This is 3.4 percent above the revised August estimate of 2,038,000 and is 10.3 percent above the September 2004 rate of 1,912,000.

Single-family housing starts in September 2005 were at a rate of about 1,747,000, which is 2.6 percent above the August figure of 1,703,000 and 12.3 percent above the September 2004 figure. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 303,000.

Total housing authorizations jumped 13.1 percent in the West and 10.4 percent in the South while dropping 4 percent in the Midwest and 0.5 percent in the Northeast from September 2004 to September 2005, the agencies reported.

Privately owned housing completions in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1,979,000, which is 3.2 percent above the revised August estimate of 1,917,000 and 10.9 percent above the September 2004 rate of 1,784,000.

Single-family housing completions in September 2005 were at a rate of about 1,680,000; which is 4.2 percent above the August figure of 1,612,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 265,000.

The Census Bureau reported that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular, and 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.

The new housing 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. Explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability can be found on our Web site listed above.

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