The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.31 million. Starts for single-family houses were up 2 percent, largely because of construction in the West and South. Construction of apartment buildings rose 6.8 percent from the prior month.
Lower mortgage rates and a healthy job market have aided the housing market in recent months, yet housing starts are still down 0.6 percent year-to-date as a shortage of land and high construction costs have limited building. Affordability is a problem for would-be buyers as increases in home prices have outstripped wage growth.
Building permits, a measure of future construction, rose 5 percent in October to 1.46 million.