WASHINGTON — Housing starts increased 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 in July, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The level rose from the revised estimate of 846,000 for June, originally reported as 836,000, the department said.

July building permits rose 2.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 943,000 from the previous month's rate of 918,000, originally reported as 911,000.

July starts were below the median 903,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, but were 20.9% above the July 2012 rate of 741,000. Permits were below the economists' median projection of 950,000 but were 12.4% above the estimate of 839,000 a year ago.

Regionally, housing starts fell 7.0% in the South but rose 40.2% in the Northeast, 25.4% in the Midwest, and 7.2% in the West.

Building permits rose 1.0% in the Northeast, 2.8% in the Midwest, 1.1% in the South, and 7.1% in the West.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.