In another sign that the economy may be beginning to pick up steam, housing starts increased 17.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 in May, the Commerce Department reported today.
Last month's figures represent a 45.0% decline since May 2008. In April, housing starts fell 12.8%.
Single-family housing starts were 7.5% above the April level. Single-family housing completions fell 3.3%.
Building permits increased 4.0% in May, but were 47.0% below May 2008.
The Northeast, Midwest South, and West had month-to-month increases of 2.0%, 11.1%, 16.8% and 28.6%, respectively.
Year-over-year housing starts declined in all regions: 58.5% in the Northeast, 42% in the Midwest, 47.8% in the South and 33.9% in the West.