Housing starts for June increased nearly 7% to 760,000, up from 711,000 in May. This marks the higest level for housing starts since October 2008. The Housing Starts report measures the number of residential units on which construction is begun each month. A start in construction is defined as the beginning of excavation of the foundation for the building and is comprised primarily of residential housing.
Since home builders don't start a house unless they are fairly confident it will sell upon its completion, if not before, changes in the rate of housing starts can tell us a lot about demand for homes and construction outlook. Furthermore, each time a new home is started, construction employment rises, revenues for the home builder and a myriad of other producers also increase; the economic "ripple effect" can be substantial.