Despite a turn downward in September, permits to build privately-owned housing units rose 10.9 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 653,000, 17.7 percent above last year’s estimate. Permits to build single-family homes gained 5.1 percent month-over-month. Housing starts remained relatively flat, dropping 0.3 percent, though they are still 16.5 percent above October 2010. But, despite the slight dip in overall starts, single-family housing starts improved 3.9 percent above the revised September figure. New residential construction is now at its highest level since March 2010. More here.