SEPTEMBER RISE: Home builders started projects in September at the fastest pace in 17 months.
APARTMENTS SURGE: Most of the gain was driven by a surge in volatile apartment construction. That could boost economic growth, but it doesn't signal a comeback for the depressed housing market.
BIG CAVEATS: Single-family home construction, which represents nearly 70 percent of homes built, rose only slightly. Building permits, a gauge of future construction, fell to a five-month low. And the seasonally adjusted 658,000 homes started in September are roughly half the 1.2 million that economists say is consistent with healthy housing markets.