The rate of building permit authorizations for new housing units fell 21.7 percent in May compared to the same month last year, and new housing starts were down 24.2 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

Housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.5 million — this rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in building activity.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of single-family building-permit authorizations in May was at a rate of 1.06 million in May, down 27.7 percent compared to May 2006. The rate of building permits for units in structures with five or more units reached 379,000 in May, up 1.1 percent compared to May 2006.

Overall building-permit activity from January to May fell 25.7 percent compared to the same period last year, according to data that is not seasonally adjusted.

The rate of housing starts in May dropped to a rate of 1.47 million, and the rate of single-family housing starts fell 26 percent from the same month last year, to 1.17 million. The May rate for starts of units with five units or more was 271,000, down 13.1 percent from May 2006.

Housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.53 million, down 19.3 percent from the May 2006 rate. And this rate has dropped in every month this year. The rate of single-family completions dropped 19.3 percent year-over-year in May, and the rate of completions for units in structures with five or more units fell 22.5 percent year-over-year.

According to January-April 2007 building-permit data that is not seasonally adjusted, Texas leads the nation in housing authorizations with 61,179, followed by Florida with 42,430, California with 41,324, North Carolina with 30,211 and Georgia with 29,329.

At the bottom of the list are Alaska with 577, Vermont with 633, North Dakota with 680, Rhode Island with 713, and Washington, D.C., with 860.

The agencies noted that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movements, and it can take three months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, four months for total starts, and six months for total completions. Statistics are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability and nonsampling error.

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

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription