WASHINGTON - 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 multifamily starts that kept the combined number for nationwide housing production virtually flat at 628,000 units in October. Meanwhile, single-family permits also posted a measurable gain of 5.1 percent to 434,000 units in the latest report, which is their fastest pace since December of 2010.

"Some signs of hope are emerging in certain markets where economic and job growth is occurring and where foreclosures have not been an overwhelming obstacle," says Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, NV

The three-month moving averages for both housing production and permitting activity have been gradually rising since this spring, says the NAHB, which has been forecasting slow improvement in market conditions through the end of this year and a more solid recovery in housing construction  in 2012.

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