Single-family housing starts rose 1.7% in July following a 17% surge in home construction during the previous month.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that single-family housing starts increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 in July, up from 482,000 in June, as construction activity rose for the fifth consecutive month.

The June rate was revised upward from 470,000, which means starts jumped by 17.3% from May to June, higher than the 14.4% the Census Bureau reported last month.

The Census Bureau also reported that multifamily starts fell to an all-time low of 80,000 units in July, down 72% from a year ago. "The credit market and overbuilding are hammering multifamily housing construction," IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport said.

He noted that the securitization market collapsed in 2008 and the banks have tightened credit on commercial real estate mortgages. "Going forward, multifamily starts are nearing a bottom, and should start growing later this year," Newport said.

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