Washington Post puts some perspective on the new housing data:
Builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 homes in November, a 9.3 percent jump from October, the government said Tuesday. It’s the highest level since April 2010.The chart below shows the increase in 5+ unit buildings (i.e. apartments) and the continued struggle in single family homes (November 2011 was actually below the level seen in November 2010).
Still, the rate is far below the 1.2 million homes that economists say would be built each year in a healthy housing market.
Construction of single-family homes rose 2.3 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 447,000. Apartment construction jumped 32 percent to a rate of 238,000 units. Single-family homes account for about 70 percent of homebuilding.