WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Construction on new U.S. homes jumped 15.7% in July to the highest level in eight months and starts were revised up sharply for June, indicating a pickup in home building after an early-year lull. Housing starts climbed to an annual rate of 1.09 million last month from 973,000 in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Initially, the government had reported a big plunge in starts in June, but the revised data shows a much smaller drop. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected starts to climb to a seasonally adjusted 975,000 in July. Permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, rose 8.1% to an annual rate of 1.05 million from 973,000 in June. Permits for single-family homes, which account for three-quarters of the housing market, edged up 0.9% to an annual rate of 640,000 in July. That’s the highest level since December. Permits for multi-family units of five or more surged 23.6% to 382,000, the fatest pace since January 2006.