Housing starts fell 5.0 percent in June, hitting their lowest level since October 2009. But though the Department of Commerce’s residential-construction statistics show the second-straight month of declines in privately owned housing starts, they also show a 2.1 percent rise in building permits. The unexpected jump in permits suggests a boost for building activity in July. Michael Gaspen, an economist at Barclays Capital, said the market is trying to find a bottom following the expiration of the tax credit but he still expects housing starts to slowly rebound in the second half of the year. More here, here, and here.