Housing Starts and Building Permits Resume Their Fall

Yesterday, homebuilders (NYSE:XHB) said their confidence was going nowhere. This morning we have better news in a report from the Commerce Department that privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 523,000. This is 10.6 percent below the revised March estimate of 585,000 and is 23.9 percent below the revised April 2010 rate of 687,000.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 394,000; this is 5.1 percent below the revised March figure of 415,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 114,000.

Building Permits Climbed Too

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 551,000. This is 4.0 percent below the revised March rate of 574,000 and is 12.8 percent below the revised April 2010 estimate of 632,000.

Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 385,000; this is 1.8 percent below the revised March figure of 392,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 143,000 in April.

Housing Completions were Worse than February

Privately-owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 554,000. This is 4.1 percent above the revised March estimate of 532,000, but is 25.5 percent below the revised April 2010 rate of 744,000.

Single-family housing completions in April were at a rate of 420,000; this is 14.4 percent above the revised March figure of 367,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 118,000.

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