WASHINGTON — Housing starts soared 15% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September from a revised estimate of 758,000 in August, originally reported as 750,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Building permits shot up 11.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000 from the revised August rate of 801,000, originally reported as 803,000.
September housing starts far exceeded the 770,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and were 34.8% above the September 2011 rate of 647,000.
Building permits for September also outpaced the economists' median projection of 810,000, and were 45.1% above the estimate of 616,000 a year ago.
The starts and permits data represent the strongest figures in years. Total housing starts and building permits have not been as high since July 2008, when they were 923,000 and 921,000 respectively. The 15% surge in starts was the largest since a 15.8% increase in March 2011, and the 11.6% permit advance was the largest since a 12.9% increase in December 2010.
Housing starts rose 23.1% in the Midwest, 19.9% in the South, and 20.1% in the West, but fell 5.1% in the Northeast.
Building permits rose across the board, advancing 19.5% in the Midwest and 10.5% in the South, as well as 6% in the Northeast and 11.3% in the West.