New home construction is up 21.7 percent since last July, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new residential construction report – which tracks building permits, housing starts, and housing completions – found a 15.7 percent month-over-month increase in the number of new homes that began construction in July, pushing home construction to its highest level since last November. There was also an 8.1 percent jump in the number of permits to build homes compared to the month before. The positive progress is a bright spot in what has been an up-and-down summer for the housing market. Still, a closer look at the report reveals that – though single-family housing starts rose 8.3 percent in July – permits to build single-family homes rose just 0.9 percent from June, indicating that the improvement in building permits was mainly due to a spike in multi-family authorizations. More here.