Housing construction picked up pace in November

"In scattered markets across the country, buyers who have long sat on the sidelines are starting to take advantage of today's very attractive prices and interest rates, while others are making the move to a new apartment," he said. 

The 9.3 percent gain — construction has increased by 24.3 percent from November 2010 — combines activity from single-family and apartment sectors, with single-family starts posting a 2.3 percent gain to a 447,000-unit pace, the fastest rate since June. 

Meanwhile, the more volatile apartment sector surged 32 percent to a 238,000-unit pace, the fastest rate since September 2008.

Building permits also increased, up 5.7 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 681,000 units in November — the best pace since March of 2010, helped primarily by a 16 percent jump in permits for apartment buildings to 246,000, which was their strongest pace since October of 2008.

Single-family permits rose 1.6 percent to 435,000 units.

"Along with recent gains that have been registered in builder confidence and other economic measures, the improvement in new-home production and permitting shown in this latest report provides further evidence of the gradual strengthening that we expected to see in housing markets toward the end of the year," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. 

"We anticipate continued, slow improvement in housing starts and sales through 2012."