Home construction in June continued to trail activity from a year ago, as building permits, housing starts and completions were down an average of 24 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.4 million, off 7.5 percent from May’s revised rate of 1.52 million and 25.2 percent below the revised June 2006 estimate of 1.88 million.

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

For the single-family sector, building permit authorizations in June dropped to a rate of 1.02 million, down 4.1 percent below May’s figure of 1.06 million. For buildings with five units or more, authorizations were at a rate of 335,000 last month.

Although privately owned housing starts in June improved from May — rising 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.47 million — activity was still 19.4 percent below the 1.82 million-unit rate a year ago.

In the single-family sector, June housing starts dipped 0.2 percent from May, sinking to a 1.15 million-unit rate. For multifamily buildings comprising five units or more, the rate was 281,000.

The most dramatic decrease in activity was reported for privately owned housing completions, where the seasonally adjusted annual rate dropped 6 percent between May and June to 1.47 million units and plummeted 28.2 percent from 2.05 million units a year ago.

Single-family housing completions saw a 6.3 percent drop last month to 1.22 million from 1.31 million in May, while the June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 214,000.

The Census Bureau and HUD 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.

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