Single-family housing starts rose 3.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 units in October, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This improvement was somewhat masked by an 8.3-percent decline in multi-family starts that kept the combined number for nationwide housing production virtually flat at 628,000 units in October, according to a statement from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Single-family permits also posted a measurable gain of 5.1 percent to 434,000 units, which is their fastest pace since December of 2010.

“The three-month moving averages for both housing production and permitting activity have been gradually rising since this spring, which is consistent with our forecast for slow improvement in market conditions through the end of this year and a positive sign that a more solid recovery will begin to take hold in 2012,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “That said, the improvements we are seeing are still limited to scattered local markets where economies are improving, and obstacles such as tight credit conditions for builders and buyers, appraisal issues stemming from new homes being compared to distressed properties, and consumer concerns about job security are definitely slowing the progression of both a housing and economic recovery.”

While combined housing starts in October declined by a mere 0.3 percent to a rate of 628,000 units, the single-family sector posted a 3.9 percent gain to 430,000 units. Meanwhile, multi-family sector posted an 8.3 percent decline to 198,000.

Combined starts activity was up in three out of four regions in October. Gains of 17.2 percent, 9.7 percent and 1.6 percent were registered in the Northeast, Midwest and South, respectively, while the West posted a 16.5-percent decline.

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