The government has released data on housing starts for August, and while positive, it isn't a significant increase over July. We got an annual rate of 750,000 nationally, against a downwardly revised July figure of 733,000, an increase of just over 2 percent.
A consensus of economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected better: a rate of 767,000. The good news, however, is that August 2012 saw a big jump over August of last year — 29 percent — when starts managed a rate of only 581,000.
Regionally, the West saw a big chunk of that activity, with a rate of 176,000 starts, but came in second overall to the South, which contributed a rate 364,000.