The Commerce Department says builders broke ground at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September. That's an increase of 15 percent from the August level.
Applications for building permits, a good sign of future construction, jumped nearly 12 percent to an annual rate of 894,000, also the highest since July 2008.
The strength in September came from both single-family construction, which rose 11 percent, and apartments, which increased 25.1 percent.
Construction activity is now 82.5 percent higher than the recession low hit in April 2009, although activity is still below healthy levels.
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