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June a good month for residential construction

Construction began on many houses in June.

Construction began on many houses in June.

Housing starts were up more than expected in June, according to numbers recently released by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The government report shows construction began on 629,000 privately owned housing units in June. This was a 16.7 percent year-over-year increase from June 2010, and surpassed the 575,000 starts predicted by a panel of economists polled by Bloomberg News. Bloomberg reports the high number of starts might be the result of construction postponed from the spring, when an outbreak of severe weather stalled building. The Midwest was one of the areas hit hardest by spring storms, and it posted the smallest regional increase in housing starts, up 25 percent from May.

Showing future construction might continue to outpace predictions, the number of residential building permits issued in June was unexpectedly high. The Commerce Department had predicted 585,000 permits would be dispersed, but 624,000 permits were issued. This was a 2.5 percent increase from May.

While the volume of permits and the number of construction starts are hopeful signs for the housing market, new home sales continue to languish in many markets. A recent DataQuick report showed few people moving into new homes in Southern California.