Construction of new homes and apartments rose 6.9 percent in June, reaching the highest level since October 2008. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Construction Report shows privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000. The increase put total housing starts 23.6 percent above last year’s level. Building permits, which are an indicator of future construction, fell 3.7 percent in June but remain 19.3 percent above 2011. The drop in permits was largely due to a decrease in multifamily permits. Single-family authorizations were virtually unchanged from the month before at a rate of 493,000, 0.6 percent above May’s figure of 490,000. More here and here.