Housing starts for June reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000, 23.6 percent above the 615,000 starts in June 2011.
But project permits issued, which represent construction starts one and two months down the road, fell 3.7 percent month-to-month.
At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 755,000, permits issued came in 19.3 percent higher than the same month of 2011.
The department said 622,000 privately owned housing construction projects were completed in June on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.
There were 2.6 percent more completions in the month than in May, where a revised estimate put completions at 606,000. The number of completed projects in the month came in 7.2 percent higher than June 2011 when an estimated 580,000 projects were completed, the department said.