Estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show the number of new homes that began construction in March was 2 percent higher than the month before. The improvement included a 4.4 percent increase in single-family housing starts, as opposed to multi-family units, but was still below most economists’ expectations. In fact, economists predicted construction would rise to an annual rate of 1.04 million homes but the numbers show a projected rate of just 908,000. Still, low mortgage rates and consistent job growth have analysts optimistic that new home construction will continue to improve, as housing grows stronger and more potential home buyers enter the market. Also in the report, the number of authorized permits to build single-family homes increased 2.1 percent from February, though overall permits were down from the month before. Despite the decline, however, building permits are nearly 3 percent higher than they were at the same time last year. More here.