If you've been following the housing market as closely as I have this past week, then I'm sure you'll agree that the construction industry has reasons to be a little more optimistic these days. Looking at the numbers being reported on Housing Starts, the NAHB Builder Confidence Index and the BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index -- it's fair to say that this week has been one of the best for housing news that we've seen in a while.
Working backwards -- yesterday morning's Census report on October housing starts was the third piece of good news from the construction industry this week. Single-family starts are up 3.9 percent from September, and although multi-family starts are down from the very high September number, they are almost double their level from a year ago. Construction, particularly multifamily, has been strengthening in the South and West, continuing the trend I called out on a recent Trulia Insights blog post about where construction activity is rumbling. The uptick in construction starts should continue because building permits, which lead new starts, are also up in October and at their highest level since March 2010.
The other encouraging building news is that the NAHB Builder Confidence Index for November was up -- again from a discouragingly low base -- to its highest level since May 2007 if we exclude the bump from the homebuyer tax credit. And, the BuildFax residential remodeling index shows that 34 percent more renovation permits were pulled in September 2011 than a year ago and is at its highest level ever.