WASHINGTON — Housing starts surged 15.0% in September to a 658,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, well above expectations and the strongest pace since April 2010, data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department showed.

The September jump in housing starts was mostly due to a 51.3% rise in multifamily building. Single-family starts rose 1.7% to 425,000 in September, but were still down 4.9% from a year ago after seasonal adjustments.

Building permits fell 5.0% to a 594,000 annual rate in September following a 4.0% rise in August.

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