U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.62 million in August, representing a 3.9% increase from the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Compared with August 2020, housing starts were up 17.4%. The pace of permitting for new housing units also increased in August. Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.73 million, up 6% from July and 13.5% from a year ago. With both housing starts and building permits, the gains recorded in August were driven by an uptick in multifamily construction activity. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a pace of 1.55 million and building permits to come in at a pace of 1.62 million.