Census Bureau figures show that housing starts increased 15.7 percent last month from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million — the fastest pace so far this year. Topping economists’ median forecast of 965,000, July’s performance was the strongest since November. Single-family construction climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 656,000, also the fastest pace this year. At the same time, building permits were issued at a 1.1 million annual rate in July, the fifth time in 2014 that they topped the 1 million mark in a month. IHS Global Insight economists Patrick Newport and Stephanie Karol note that nearly 50 percent of single-family construction is located in the South, where single-family permits have been accelerating in the last three months. They conclude, “As job and income growth continue to recover, the single-family market should benefit.” | Read More