In another sign that the economy may be picking up, housing starts increased 1.5% last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000, the Commerce Department reported today.
Last month's figures represent a 29.6% decline since August 2008.
Single-family housing starts dropped 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 479,000. Single-family housing completions fell 1.6%.
Building permits increased 2.7% from August's level, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 579,000. That's 32.4% below that of August 2008.
The Northeast and Midwest had month-to-month increases of 23.5% and 0.9%, respectively, the South had a 2.4% decline and there was no change in the West.
Year-to-year housing starts declined in all regions: 41.8% in the Northeast, 33.2% in the West, 29.7% in the South and 10.9% in the West.