New home starts on private residences dropped significantly from the revised March estimate of 1.02 million units to a seasonally adjusted 853,000 units in April, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

This represents a 16.5% decline from the March estimate, but is 13.1% higher than the April 2012 estimate of 754,000. "The April starts annualized level of 0.853 million units fell short of analysts' forecast for 0.969 million units," Econoday analysts said.

"For April, housing starts notably disappointed but housing permits were unexpectedly optimistic," Econoday added.

Permits spiked 14.3% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.02 million after falling 6.5% in March to 890,000 permits. This is 35.8% higher than the estimate of 749,000 in April 2012.

Home completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 853,000, dropping 16.5% from the March estimate of 804,000. However, April’s estimate is 3.3% higher than the year-over-year estimate of 667,000.

Single-family authorizations rose 3.0% from March’s revised 599,000 to a rate of 617,000 in April. 

"Overall, housing may still be coming out of winter month volatility. But permits point to gradual improvement for the housing sector," added Econoday analysts.