Housing Starts Jump 6.7% in July: The gain is the fourth this year and the biggest in 16 months, the Commerce Department said. The figures offer new evidence that low mortgage rates have helped rouse the industry from its winter lethargy, economists said. The July rate was up from a revised 1.29 million for June, when starts advanced 0.9% rather than falling 0.1%, as the preliminary report said. The department said July starts totaled 1.38 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. They were up 2.2% in the West but slipped 4.8% in the Northeast and 0.7% in the Midwest. The South posted the largest increase, at 15.5%.
<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>