U.S. home building jumped to a one-year high in October likely as disruptions caused by recent hurricanes in the South faded and communities in the region started replacing houses damaged by flooding.
Housing starts surged 13.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million units, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was the highest level since October 2016. September's sales pace was revised up to 1.135 million units from the previously reported 1.127 million units.
Groundbreaking activity in the South, which accounts for almost half of U.S. residential construction, plummeted in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The storms slammed Texas and Florida in late August and early September.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a pace of 1.185 million units last month.
Housing starts in the South soared 17.2 percent in October to 621,000 units, with single-family construction vaulting 16.6 percent to its highest level since 2007. There were also increases in home building in the Midwest and Northeast.