Single-family housing permits increased 5.9% in June to an annual rate of 430,000 units, with permits increasing in the South and West and remaining unchanged in the Northeast and Midwest, according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Multifamily permits improved for the first time in 11 months after sinking to an all-time low in May, according to Commerce. “This was the most positive housing report in ages,” says Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight, Lexington, Mass. “Based on June’s numbers, we should continue to see improving housing starts nationally and across all regions over the next two months,” says Newport. “Further ahead, single-family starts will continue to improve, but the recovery will be a slow one, lasting two to three years.”