PhotoHousing construction in April regained some of the ground it lost a month earlier.

The Commerce Department reports privately-owned housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,172,000 last month, up 6.6% from March's revised total of 1,099,000. Despite the increase, April's rate is 1.7% below the pace of the same month a year ago.

Construction of single-family homes was up 3.3% last month to a rate of 778,000, while the rate for buildings with five units or more was 373,000, an advance of 10.7%.

"Though housing construction data is relatively flat for the beginning of 2016," said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz, "we anticipate a ramping up of housing production during the rest of the year, given a strengthening job market, low mortgage interest rates and favorable demographics."

Building permits

Construction permits, a gauge of developers plans a few months down the road, rose 3.6% to a rate of 1,116,000. That's also down 5.3% from April 2015. Permits for single-family construction rose 1.5%, while authorizations for construction of buildings with five units or more jumped 9.4%.

The full report may be found on the Commerce Department website.

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