Construction of single-family homes picked up nationally last month but not in the West.
Single-family homes were started in October at an annual rate of 434,000, a 5.1% increase over the previous month, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
The report follows news of improved builder sentiment released the day before, with an index measuring builder confidence reaching its highest level since May 2010. 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 to clients Thursday. "It has supporting evidence that the single-family market is finally getting off the mat and that the multifamily segment is continuing to make small strides, and that we should expect good housing starts numbers the rest of this year."