Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show privately owned housing starts up 3.6 percent in October, which puts them 41.9 percent above last year’s rate. The improvement beat economists’ expectations and helped new residential construction hit its highest rate in more than four years. Building permits, on the other hand, slipped from September, falling 2.7 percent. Despite the dip, they are still up nearly 30 percent above last year’s rate. Also, single-family authorizations posted a 2.2 percent improvement in October. More here and here.