Two important measures of strength in the housing and construction industries moved substantially higher in July the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said today.  The number of permits issued and construction starts both jumped while housing completions were also up.  In addition today's report revised significantly upward the relatively dismal June numbers released last month for all three construction elements.   

In July permits were issued for construction of privately owned residential housing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,052,000 units.  This was an increase of 8.1 percent from the June rate of 973,000 units and was 7.7 percent higher than the estimate for July 2013 of 977,000.  June permits were originally estimated to be at the rate of 963,000 units.

Single family home permits were issued at a rate of 640,000, 0.9 percent above the revised figure (from 631,000) of 634,000 units.  Construction in buildings with five or more residential units was authorized at the rate of 382,000 compared to 309,000 units in June, an increase of 23.6 percent.

Housing starts in July were estimated to be at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,093,000.  This represents a surge of 15.7 percent compared to June's revised estimate of 945,000, itself a significant revision from the 893,000 units originally reported.  The July estimate is 21.7 percent above the rate of housing starts in July 2013 of 898,000.

Single family home starts rose 8.3 percent from the revised June estimate of 606,000 to 656,000.  June's single-family starts were reported last month at 575,000.  Starts of units in buildings with five or more were at the rate of 423,000, 33 percent higher than starts in June.

Housing completions were at the rate of 841,000, up 3.7 percent from the revised June estimate of 811,000 and 8.0 percent higher than in July 2013 when 779,000 units were completed.  June's completions were originally estimated at 789,000.

The rate of single-family completions in July was 635,000, up 6.2 percent from June rate of 598,000.    Completions of multifamily units was at a rate of 199,000 compared to 208,000 in June.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis housing permits were issued for 97,100 units, 61,000 of which were single family units compared to 92,300 and 61,100 permits in June.  Year-to-date there have been 602,500 permits issued, a 6.1 percent increase over the same period in 2013.

Construction starts numbered 101,000 and single family starts 61,600 in July; the numbers were 90,500 and 62,200 in June.  Thus far this year construction has started on 584,900 units, an increase of 9.1 percent over construction starts by the end of July 2013.

There were 70,500 housing units completed in July, 51,800 of which were single family housing compared to 71,600 and 51,900 in June.  Housing completions year-to-date total 462,500, 14.3 percent more than a year earlier.

In the Northeast permits increased 18.8 percent from June and 5.3 percent from one year earlier.  Housing starts were 44.0 percent above the rate in June and 26.3 percent higher than the same month in 2013.  Completions dropped by 15 percent from June and were 20.9 percent below the rate the previous July.

Permits in the Midwest were issued at a rate 0.6 percent below the previous month but 17.0 percent above that of July 2013.  Housing starts were down by a quarter from the month before but were 1.9 percent higher than a year earlier. Completions were a slight 0.7 percent higher than the previous month but were 26.4 percent above the rate in July 2013.

The South had an increase in permits issued of 9.6 percent compared to June and 8.6 percent relative to July 2013.  Housing starts jumped by 29.0 percent from July and 27.4 percent compared to the previous year.  Completions rose by 6.2 percent from the month before and were 13.2 percent above the level a year earlier.

Permitting was up by 7.2 percent month-over-month and 0.08 percent year-over-year in the West and housing starts increased by 18.6 percent and 23.4 percent respectively.  Completions were 9.1 percent above the rate in June but 1.0 percent lower than a year earlier.

The report estimates that on a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were 804,100 units under construction at the end of July.  An estimated 363,800 are single family houses and 430,400 are units in buildings with five or more units.  The Northeast has an estimated 121,800 units and the Midwest an estimated 125,200 units under construction; building is underway on 358,300 units in the South and 198,800 in the West.

At the end of the reporting period there were an estimated 110,800 permits outstanding for which construction had not been started; 58,300 permits were for single family units and 50,600 for units of multi-family housing.