While issuance of building permits accelerated last month, the volume of completed housing units declined thanks to a tumble in multifamily construction.
For the month of April, building permits were authorized on new privately owned housing units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.116 million.
Activity accelerated compared to one month previous, when the seasonally adjusted annual rate came in at a downwardly revised 1.077 million housing units.
In the same month last year, the annual rate was an upwardly revised 1.178 million.
Those statistics were jointly released Tuesday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau.
Helping to drive up the national number were permits in the West, which were up 5 percent from March to 265,000. A more than 3 percent rise left the rate in the South at 558,000, and in the Midwest at 189,000. In the Northeast, the rate was up 3 percent from March to an annual rate of 104,000.
On just one-unit properties, U.S. permits rose 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate
736,000. The multifamily rate leapt 9 percent to a rate of 348,000.
Without any seasonal adjustments, there were 98,400 U.S. permits issued for all types of housing during April 2016.
The most-recent activity left a seasonally adjusted 144,000
housing units authorized but not started.
Home builders broke ground on new housing units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.172 million last month. Activity climbed 7 percent from March but slipped 2 percent from April 2015.
A seasonally adjusted 999,000 houses were under construction as of April 30, 2016.
An 11 percent decline put completed U.S. construction at a seasonally adjusted 933,000 annual rate during April 2016.
tumbled 11 percent from a month earlier and 7 percent from a year earlier.
While completed construction on one-unit properties was down just 4 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 691,000, multifamily completions sank 28 percent to 232,000.
On all property types, completed construction dropped 18 percent in the Midwest to an annual rate of 141,000, while it fell almost 18 percent in the Northeast to an 88,000 rate.
A 10 percent reduction in the West worked out to a 198,000 annual rate, and an 8 percent decline n the South put the figure there at 506,000.
Without any seasonal adjustments, there were 72,600 U.S. housing units completed last month.