WASHINGTON -- Housing starts rose 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 in June from a revised estimate of 711,000 in May, originally reported as  708,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Building permits slipped 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 755,000 from the  revised May rate of 784,000, originally reported as 780,000.

June housing starts came in well above the median 745,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and were 23.6% above the June 2011 rate of 615,000. The 760,000 of June starts represents the highest figure since October 2008.

Building permits for June fell short of the median 764,000 projected by the economists, but were 19.3% above the June 2011 estimate of 633,000.

Housing starts were a mixed bag regionally, as the Northeast and West experienced strong numbers and the South and Midwest figures declined. The Northeast saw a 22.2% increase over the previous month, and the West a 36.9% jump. The Midwest saw a 7.3% decrease, while starts fell 4.2% in the South.

Building permits only advanced in the West, which experienced a 2.9% over the previous month's number. Permits remained flat in the Northeast, and fell 0.8% in the Midwest and 8.0% in the South.

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