US builders started construction on single-family homes and apartments in September at the fastest pace since July 2008, a further indication that the housing recovery is strengthening. The Commerce Department says builders broke ground at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September. That's an increase of 15% from the August level.
Applications for building permits, a good sign of future construction, jumped nearly 12% to an annual rate of 894,000, also the highest since July 2008. The strength in September came from both single-family construction, which rose 11%, and apartments, which increased 25.1%. Construction activity is now 82.5% higher than the recession low hit in April 2009, although activity is still below healthy levels. (Read more housing market stories.)