April housing permits down; new home starts up. There is difficult choice here; which indicator more accurately reflects the true state of the housing market. The new home starts numbers are up only when compared to the previous months. Therefore, it is time to invoke the NAR excuse - the weather. Less rain in April relative to March artificially inflated the new home starts data. So don't worry folks, the housing crash continues.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The battered housing market got another vote of no-confidence from builders last month as applications for new projects tumbled to the lowest since 1997, even as housing starts themselves edged higher.The numbers confirm other recent reports from home builders and real estate groups of a housing market that is still searching for a bottom and that is likely to get weaker before it picks up.

Housing starts rose to an annual rate of 1.53 million in April, according to the Census Bureau report, from the revised 1.49 million pace in March. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a slip to a 1.48 million pace in April.

But building permits, which are often seen as a measure of builder's confidence in the market, sank to an annual rate of 1.43 million in April from a revised 1.57 million in March. It was the lowest reading since June 1997. Economists had forecast a dip to 1.52 million