The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show permits to build privately-owned housing units reached a four-year high in July. Building permits rose 6.8 percent from June’s rate of 760,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 812,000, which is nearly 30 percent higher than they were a year earlier. Permits to build single-family homes increased 4.5 percent. Construction of new homes and apartments, on the other hand, slipped in July. Housing starts fell 1.1 percent after rising nearly 7.0 percent the month before. Despite the drop, housing starts remain 21.5 percent above year-ago levels. More here and here.