The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show construction of new homes gaining ground in August. According to the report, housing starts rose 2.3 percent above July’s estimate of 733,000 and are 29.1 percent above last year’s rate of 581,000. The improvement included a 5.5 percent spike in single-family housing starts, the best pace in more than two years. Despite the gains, building permits were flat for the month. Single family authorizations were up just 0.2 percent and total authorizations were down 1.0 percent. Still, permits were 24.5 percent above the August 2011 estimate. More here and here.