Housing construction surges on more apartment building

Home building picked up pace in April to the highest level in six months, a positive sign for the stalled housing market recovery.

Construction starts rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.07 million homes last month, the best showing since November, and a 13.2 percent increase from 947,000 in March, the Commerce Department said Friday. 

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Still, most of the gain came from the volatile multifamily segment of the market, which increased 39.6 percent to a 423,000-unit pace.

The housing market hit a rough patch during a spate of severe winter weather.

Construction in market's largest segment, single-family homes, increased 0.8 percent to a 649,000 pace. 

Another good sign for the market is the 8 percent jump in building permits — to a 1.08-million unit pace — which were the highest since June 2008. 

Meanwhile, permits for single-family homes rose 0.3 percent to a 602,000-unit rate.

The Northeast and Midwest led the way in regional increases at 28.7 percent and 42.1 percent, respectively. The South had a 1.5 percent increase in housing starts while the West was up 11.1.