Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.75 million in July, which is 1.2 percent below the revised June rate and 20.8 percent below the July 2005 estimate, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

The rate of building permits issued fell for the sixth straight month in July, down from a rate of 2.2 million in January.

Single-family authorizations in July were at a rate of about 1.32 million, which is 6.1 percent below the June rate. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 342,000 in July.

Privately owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.8 million, which is 2.5 percent below the revised June estimate and 13.3 percent below the July 2005 rate, the agencies announced.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in construction activity.

Single-family housing starts in July were at a rate of about 1.45 million, which is 2.3 percent below the June rate. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 264,000.

Privately owned housing completions in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.93 million, which is 5.4 percent below the revised June estimate and 2.3 percent above the July 2005 rate.

Single-family housing completions in July were at a rate of about 1.67 million, which is 4.6 percent below the June figure. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 244,000.

The agencies noted that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics typically show irregular movements. It may take four months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, five months for total starts, and six months for total completions.

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.

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