HOUSING STARTS RISE: U.S. developers broke ground on homes at a faster pace in July, driven by a spike in apartment building, a volatile category. Builders began work on fewer single-family homes and sought fewer permits to build them.

DRAG FROM HIGHER RATES? Friday's report from the Commerce Department suggests that home building is maintaining its recovery but has been restrained by higher mortgage rates.

DEMAND STILL STRONG: Demand for new homes remains strong even as supply is tight. That trend has pushed up prices and should encourage more construction. Over the past 12 months, the data looks strong: Builders broke ground on 15 percent more single-family homes in July than a year earlier.