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Permit activity falls sharply in June

While housing starts rose slightly last month, the number of housing permits issued in June fell sharply, according to figures released by the Commerce Department.

Housing starts rose 2.3 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.467 million. Total building permits fell 7.5 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.406 million units and were down 25.2 percent from a year earlier.

“The small overall increase in total housing starts does not signal the end of the housing downswing,” said National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Seiders. “All of the gain occurred on the multi-family side, which is subject to sizeable month-to-month volatility.”

Starts of new single-family homes slipped by 0.2 percent during June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.151 million units, 21.6 percent below a year earlier.

Multi-family housing starts, on the other hand, increased 12.5 percent during the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 316,000, which was 9.7 percent below the rate of June 2006.

Total building permits fell 7.5 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.406 million units and were down 25.2 percent from a year earlier.

Single-family permit issuance last month fell 4.1 percent to 1.019 million units, 27.5 percent below a year earlier, while multi-family permits declined 15.3 percent to 387,000 units, which was 18.4 percent below the annual rate set in June 2006.

Regionally, starts of new homes and apartments in June were up 9 percent in the West and 2.4 percent in the South, following sharp declines in May. Starts were down 3.7 percent in the Midwest and 2.4 percent in the Northeast. All four regions experienced a construction pace that was down substantially from a year earlier.

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