Housing starts increased in June

Housing starts jumped 6.9 percent from May to June, reaching the highest level since October 2008, according to USA Today. Construction increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000, exceeding analysts' estimates.

Additionally, single-family construction climbed 4.7 percent to 539,000 from May to June, which is the highest level since March 2010.

Building permit applications, which are viewed as a barometer of future construction, fell 3.7 percent; however, the decline largely is attributed to a 10.9 percent drop in multifamily permits, which can be volatile.

Single-family starts have picked up significantly during the past six months, and multifamily construction began to turn around about 18 months ago.

"We're finally starting to get some traction and move up in a credible way," says Robert Denk, senior economist for the National Association of Homebuilders.

However, the housing market still needs to improve significantly. Although 765,000 homes are expected to be built this year compared with 612,000 in 2011, that is about half the 1.5 million annual starts of a normal market. Denk says it will take three to four years for construction activity to reach a normal level.

Date : 7/25/2012