Housing starts increased 5.9% for July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens a PDF) released today.

After June's steep slide to a revised rate of 846,000, this latest report puts construction back on an upward trajectory, although it failed to meet analyst expectations of a 900,000 annual rate. The month-to-month rise was all due to apartment construction, which is typically volatile. Construction began on 26% more apartments but declined 2.2% for single-family houses. Overall housing starts remain below the 1.5 million-a-year rate that's consistent with a healthy market. 

Source: Census.gov. 

From June to July, housing permits headed up 2.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 943,000, also thanks to planned construction of apartments, while housing completions finished off the month up 1.8% at a 774,000 annual rate.

Over the last year, housing starts have jumped 20.9%, permits are up 12.4%, and completions have notched a 15% gain.

Today's news comes a day after a report for August revealed that homebuilder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes is at its highest level since 2005.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.