The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for April 2019.
Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,296,000. This is 0.6 percent (±2.6 percent)* above the revised March rate of 1,288,000, but is 5.0 percent (±1.4 percent) below the April 2018 rate of 1,364,000. Single‐family authorizations in April were at a rate of 782,000; this is 4.2 percent (±1.2 percent) below the revised March figure of 816,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 467,000 in April.
Privately owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,235,000. This is 5.7 percent (±13.0 percent)* above the revised March estimate of 1,168,000, but is 2.5 percent (±10.4 percent)* below the April 2018 rate of 1,267,000. Single‐family housing starts in April were at a rate of 854,000; this is 6.2 percent (±13.7 percent)* above the revised March figure of 804,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 359,000.
Privately owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,312,000. This is 1.4 percent (±15.5 percent)* below the revised March estimate of 1,331,000, but is 5.5 percent (±11.9 percent)* above the April 2018 rate of 1,244,000. Single‐family housing completions in April were at a rate of 918,000; this is 4.1 percent (±13.4 percent)* below the revised March rate of 957,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 381,000. The May report is scheduled for release on June 18, 2019.
In interpreting changes in the statistics in this release, note that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular. It may take three months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, six months for total starts, and six months for total completions. The statistics in this release are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage. Estimated relative standard errors of the most recent data are shown in the tables. Whenever a statement such as “2.5 percent (±3.2 percent) above” appears in the text, this indicates the range (-0.7 to +5.7 percent) in which the actual percentage change is likely to have occurred. All ranges given for percentage changes are 90 percent confidence intervals and account only for sampling variability. If a range does not contain zero, the change is statistically significant. If it does contain zero, the change is not statistically significant; that is, it is uncertain whether there was an increase or decrease. The same policies apply to the confidence intervals for percentage changes shown in the tables. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised 3 percent or less. Explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability can be found at the Census Bureau’s website.
* The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. In such cases, there is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.