Residential home building starts dropped sharply in April, but permits for new projects rose soundly, the U.S. Department of Commerce said Thursday. After housing starts topped 1 million in March for the first time since June 2008, building starts fell 16.5 percent in April to 853,000. The March figure was revised, but held above 1 million with 1,021,000 projects started, the department\'s Census Bureau News said. Housing starts for April came in 13.1 percent higher than April 2012, when starts came to 754,000. At 1,017,000, the number of permits issued for private projects was 14.3 percent above March\'s revised rate of 890,000. Permits jumped 35.8 percent from 12 months prior, when 749,000 permits were issued for residential construction projects. Residential project completions came to an annual rate of 689,000 in April, 14.3 percent below a revised March rate of 804,000. Completed projects were 3.3 percent above the April 2012 rate of 667,000, the department said in a release issued jointly by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.