WASHINGTON, June 17, 2003 (Hanley-Wood News Service) - Housing starts increased 6.1 percent in May, as home building continued to be one of the few undisputed bright spots in the economy.

New housing starts grew to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.732 million units, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday. The total was up from revised April 2003 totals of 1.632 million units.

The May 2003 totals, while up from the previous month, were down 1.1 percent from the May 2002 rate of 1.752 million units.

Also in May, 1.788 million building permits for housing were issued, up 3.7 percent from revised April totals of 1.724 million permits.

Single-family completions in May totaled 1.409 million, up 0.9 percent from April's 1.396 million.

For detailed statistics, including links to the Commerce Dept. source materials, see BUILDER Online's Market Data section.

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