WASHINGTON — Housing starts rose 2.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 in August from a revised estimate of 733,000 in July, originally reported as 746,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Building permits fell 1.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 803,000 from the revised July rate of 811,000, originally reported as 812,000.

July housing starts came in below the median 765,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, but were 29.1% above the August 2011 rate of 581,000.

Building permits for August were closer to the median 800,000 projected by the economists, and were 24.5% above the August 2011 645,000 level.

Housing starts rose 20.7% in the Midwest and 3.7% in the South but fell 12.6% in the Northeast and 4.3% in the West.

Building permits rose 7.9% in the Midwest and 0.7% in the South, but fell 7.7% in the Northeast and 6.4% in the West.

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