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GARY SHILLING: A Housing Recovery? You've Got To Be Kidding Me

•, Henry Blodget

Housing starts surged to 4-year high last month the Commerce Department reported. New home construction increased 15% in September compared to August and building permits — a number that reflects future building — jumped 11.6% last month. Housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units in September and single-family housing construction last month grew 11% to an annual rate of 603,000. New home building grew in three of four U.S. regions.

Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight called the housing starts number a "blowout." The National Association of Home Builders said its monthly builder sentiment survey was 41 in October, the highest level since June 2006. A reading below 50 represents negative sentiment about the market but the index has risen steadily over the past year.

Rising home prices and year-over-year increases in new and existing home sales have contributed to the turnaround in the housing market.

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