Housing starts are inching back up across the country, and a big fall in the price of lumber in recent weeks has housing economists projecting an uptick in activity from homebuilders.

Housing starts increased 3.6% in May to a rate of 1.57 million, according to the most recent study from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s more than 50% above, above the May 2020 rate — when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height in the country — of 1.05 million.

Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 1.1 million, up 4.2% from April. But single-family completions were at a rate of just 978,000, down 2.6%.

The total number of homes under construction increased 1.2% — the 12th consecutive monthly increase and its highest level since 2007. Permits for new construction by homebuilders dropped 3%, largely because lumber and building material costs kept prices high.

With lumber prices finally coming down, June figures will be worth keeping an eye on.