U.S. housing starts rise for second straight month

New residential construction may be showing signs of new life. U.S. housing starts unexpectedly rose for the second month in a row, increasing 3.6 percent in June, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday (pdf).

Housing starts rose to a 582,000-unit, seasonally adjusted, annual rate in June. It's the highest level of starts since November 2008. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected housing starts to total a 530,000 annualized rate in June. Housing starts totaled a revised 562,000-unit rate in May, and 458,000 in April.