In May, single-family home construction increased 3.7 percent above the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development’s April estimate. Total housing starts gained 3.5 percent. The improvement brought new-home construction to its highest level in months and exceeded most economists’ expectations. Building permits, which are a gauge of future construction, rose 8.7 percent above April’s figure and were 5.2 percent higher than May 2010. Housing starts have been volatile in recent months, rising 7.2 percent in March before dropping 10.6 percent in April. More here and here.