Housing starts for June show improvement

Monthly housing starts for June rose above the 600,000 mark for the first time since January, according to data released today by the Commerce Department.

Housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 629,000 in June, up 14.6% from the revised May estimate of 549,000. Single-family starts also showed a big improvement -- up 9.4% to a rate of 453,000.

The 629,000 annual rate came in much higher than anticipated by most forecasts, which had called for a rate of about 570,000.

The June figures were heading in the right direction on a year-over-year basis, also. Total housing starts were up 16.7% over June 2010, and single-family starts were up a slight 0.4% compared with a year ago.

Looking at the four regions of the country, single-family construction showed the biggest growth in the Midwest, where starts increased more than 20% compared with last year and last month. The Northeast in June posted a 35.1% increase in total housing starts, compared with May.  

Building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 624,000, up 2.5% from May, and up 6.7% compared with June 2010.

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