Housing starts took a big jump in June, but they were artificially inflated by development activity in New York City that was spurred by a rush to beat a July 1 change in the building code. As a result, the national number for starts for all private housing types from the Commerce Department showed a 9.1% increase while single family starts posted a 5.3% decline from May to an annual rate of 647,000.

The activity in New York stood in stark contrast to the rest of the county as it skewed the numbers wildly. Regionally, starts were up 102.6% in the Northeast but down 10.5% in the Midwest, up 0.4% in the South and down 8.2% in the West.

More telling were the single-family starts, which were down 9.2% in the Northeast, down 5.3% in the Midwest, down 4.4% in the South and down 8.2% in the West. Year over year, single family permits in the Northeast were down 44.9%, down 45.7% in the Midwest, down 36.9% in the South and down 52.7% in the West.

The New York numbers similarly skewed the national permits number, sending it up 11.6% to 1.09 million and inflating the Northeast number for all private housing types by 73%. In the other regions, permits were down 2% in the Midwest, up 3% in the South and up 0.9% in the West from May. Single family permits again told a more credible story: down 3.5% nationally, down 12.1% in the Northeast, down 8.3% in the Midwest, down 2.4% in the South and up 1.4% in the West.

Housing completions in June came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,167,000, 1.2% above a revised May estimate but 21.7% below the revised estimate for June, 2007. Single-family housing completions fell 2.9% from May to a rate of 859,000.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: New York, NY.