In July, privately-owned housing starts were up 9.8 percent over last year, according to residential construction estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Building permits, an indicator of future construction, also saw year-over-year gains, rising 3.8 percent above July 2010. Despite improvements over last year’s estimates, housing starts fell 1.5 percent from June. The month-over-month dip was less than economists expected and follows June’s 14.6 percent surge, which was the largest increase since the beginning of the year. Building permits for single-family homes rose 0.5 percent over June’s figure. More here and here.