HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle, Associated Press) – The number of housing permits filed in the Houston area last month jumped for the second time this year.

Builders filed 2,428 permits for single-family homes, town homes and condominiums in August — up 7.5 percent from the same month last year.

“It’s good news in the sense that there is some strength returning to the market,” said Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Some builders are scrambling to put more homes on the ground by the end of November when the federal government’s $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers expires.

Nationally, applications for building permits rose 2.7 percent in August to an annual rate of 579,000 units, slightly below the 580,000-unit level that had been forecast. Permits for single-family homes dipped 0.2 percent but rose for multifamily units by 15.8 percent.