Construction of new homes increases, except in West
Construction of single-family U.S. homes appeared to pick up last month, but not in the West.
Single-family homes were started at a rate of 434,000, a 5.1% increase over the prior month.
The increase follows news of an increase builder sentiment. Economists called the jump in new single-family-home starts a positive sign, as the nation's beleaguered real estate market was at least showing life.
"This was a good report," Patrick Newport, U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note Thursday. "It has supporting evidence that the single-family market is finally getting off the mat and that the multi-family segment is continuing to make small strides, and that we should expect good housing starts numbers the rest of this year."
Overall housing starts -- including the volatile apartment building sector -- fell in October 0.3% over the prior month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000. The decline was attributed to a drop in apartment building construction.
The West was the only region that did not see an increase, falling 16.5%. Starts were up 17.2% in the Northeast, 9.7% in the Midwest and 1.6% in the South.
Another measure of housing activity considered less volatile than starts, permits issued, also showed new building gaining ground last month. New permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 653,000, 10.9% above September and 17.7% above October 2010.
-- Alejandro Lazo
Photo: Suburban homes under construction in Rancho Cucamonga. Credit: Getty Images