For the first nine months of 2003, housing starts are 5% ahead of January-September 2002, with single-family starts up by 8% and multi-family starts down 3%.

The National Association of Home Builders recently reported that its Housing Market Index, a monthly survey of builders, rose to 72 in October, the highest level since December 1999. All three subindexes were up, including current sales conditions, sales expectations for the next six months, and traffic of prospective buyers.