New estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show new residential construction increased in March. Privately owned housing starts rose 2.8 percent overall and construction of new single-family homes was up 6 percent from the month before. After a rocky winter, the improvement is a welcome sign but the gains were still less than economists had forecast for the month. Also in the report, permits to build new homes fell, though the decline was mostly due to a drop in authorizations to build multi-family housing. Single-family authorizations – which are a good indicator of future home building activity – were up 0.5 percent. Overall, new residential construction was at its fastest pace of the year in March. March also marked the second consecutive month in which construction of single-family homes increased, after falling in both December and January. More here.