US home building up again in October

US home construction rose again in October following September's strong surge, the Commerce Department said Tuesday in a further sign of recovery in the housing market.

Housing starts rose 3.6 percent from October, surprising analysts who had expected a fall after the big September jump.

The government trimmed its September growth estimate by 0.4 point to 15.1 percent, the strongest pace since July 2008.

The October gain was led by an 11.9 percent rise in multi-family units, a sector that tends to be volatile month-over-month.

New construction of single-family homes, the lion's share of the housing market, slipped 0.2 percent after hitting its hottest pace in four years in September.

On a 12-month basis, overall housing starts were up 41.9 percent, further confirmation of the recovery under way after the housing market crashed in 2006.

New building permits, an indicator of future activity, fell 2.7 percent, led by a 10.6 percent drop in permits for multi-family units.

For single-family homes, however, new building permits rose 2.2 percent, hitting their highest level since July 2008.

"The overwhelming trend here is a housing market that has clearly shifted into recovery mode," said Robert Kavcic at BMO Capital Markets.

"Inventories are down, household formation is up and homebuilder confidence has come back in a big way -- that all points to further gains in US homebuilding ahead."

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