WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home building jumped 3.8% in October, a positive sign for the overall economy as developers anticipate steady demand.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.31 million. Starts for single-family houses were up 2%, largely because of construction in the West and South. Construction of apartment buildings rose 6.8% from the prior month.

Lower mortgage rates and a healthy job market have aided the housing market in recent months, yet housing starts are still down 0.6% year-to-date as a shortage of land and high construction costs have limited building. Affordability is a problem for would-be buyers as increases in home prices have outstripped wage growth.

Building permits, a measure of future construction, rose 5% in October to 1.46 million.

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