Housing starts rose 2.3% in August, increasing to a rate of 750,000 units, up from July's revised estimate of 733,000 units, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

The starts numbers fit within the overall narrative coming from housing economists that the housing market is looking up with sales and prices rising in some key markets, including the hard hit sand states.

August housing starts rose 29% from year-ago levels when only 581,000 homes began the construction process.

Single-family starts dominated, rising 5.5% to 535,000 units last month, up from 507,000 starts in July. Buildings with five or more housing units accounted for 208,000 August housing starts.  

Meanwhile, permits for new housing construction fell a slight 1%, with 803,000 permits on file in August compared to 811,000 in July. Still, permit activity overall rose 24.5% above year ago levels.