Both residential permitting and housing starts increased in April although housing completions lagged behind those in March the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said today.  Permits for construction of new single family houses were issued during the month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,080,000, an 8.0 percent increase over the 1 million permits issued in March and 3.8 percent more than the 1,040,000 estimate in April 2013.  The March figure is an upward revision of the 990,000 unit estimate provided in last month's report.

Single family permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted rate of 602,000, up 0.3 percent from March and but were 3.2 percent below the level a year earlier.  Estimates of March single family permits were also revised upward from 592,000 to 600,000.   Single family starts rose at a slightly faster pace than permits, up 0.8 percent, but multifamily housing starts accounted for most of the overall improvement, rising substantially from an annual rate of 303,000 units in March to 423,000 units in April, an increase of 39.6 percent.  This rate was also 16.2 percent higher than a year earlier. The net month-over-month gain of 120k multifamily starts is 24 times the 5k gain in single-family starts.



On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were 96,500 permits issued in April compared to 83,700 in March.  Fifty-eight thousand of the April permits were for single family construction and 36,300 were for units in multifamily buildings.  In the first four months of 2014 there have been a total of 318,000 permits issued compared to 297,100 during the same period in 2013.

Housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,072,000, a 13.2 percent increase from March's revised estimate of 947,000 (up from 946,000) and 26.4 percent above the April 2013 rate of 848,000.

On an unadjusted basis there were 94,900 residential units started in April compared to 80,000 in March and 60,100 single family starts compared to 55.300 the previous month.  Starts through April of 2014 total 300,600 compared to 284,300 for the first four months of 2013.

Housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 847,000, a 3.9 percent decrease from the revised March estimate of 881,000 (from 872,000).  The April estimate is 21.2 percent higher than the April 2013 rate of 699,000.

Single family completions were at a rate of 602,000, 2.4 percent lower than March.  Multifamily completions were at a rate of 242,000 compared to 251,000 in March.

On an unadjusted basis 64,900 units were completed, 46,000 single family and 18,700 multifamily units.  In March there were 68,300 completions.  To date in 2014 there have been 248,900 units completed compared to 213,500 by the same time in 2013.

At the end of the period there were 736,000 units under construction compared to 718,000 at the end of March.  Approximately 341,000 units were single family and 385,000 were in buildings of five units or more.

Permits in the Northeast were 17.6 percent lower than in March but 12 percent higher than in April 2913.  Housing starts were up 28.7 percent for the month and 78.2 percent for the year with virtually none of the increase attributable to single-family construction.  Completions were up 18.6 percent for the month and 31.7 percent on an annual basis.

In the Midwest permits were up 1.2 percent from March but down 4.7 percent from a year earlier.  Housing starts rose 42.1 percent from March and 40.3 percent from April 2013.  Completions in April were at a rate 2.9 percent below March but 4.7 percent higher than a year earlier.

Permitting jumped up 18.2 percent month-over-month in the South and was 1.7 percent higher than in April the previous year.  Housing starts rose a slight 1.5 percent month-over-month but were 18.2 percent higher on an annual basis.  Completions were down 5.5 percent from March but up 27.5 percent from April 2013.

There was a 7.7 percent increase in permits from March to April and an 11.3 percent annual increase in the West.   Starts increased by 11.1 percent and 12.7 percent for the two periods respectively.  Completions fell 8.5 percent for the month but were 16.0 percent higher on an annual basis.