Housing starts surged in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, to their highest level since November 2007, and their percentage increase month-on-month was the largest since February 1991.

Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million, 20.2% above the revised March estimate of 944,000 and 9.2% above the April 2014 rate of just over 1 million, the Commerce Department said.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 733,000, 16.7% above the revised March figure of 628,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 389,000.

House building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million, 10.1% above the revised March rate of just over 1 million and 6.4% above the April 2014 estimate of 1,074,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast April housing starts to increase to 1.02 million units and permits to rise to 1.06 million units.

“While the robust data probably overstates the health of the housing market, the signs of strength fit in with views that a housing rebound is under way,” Reuters wrote. “There is cautious optimism that housing, which has seen an acceleration in home sales and prices, will combine with a tightening labor market to lift the economy out of the soft patch hit at the start of the year.”

Privately-owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 986,000, 20.4% above the revised March estimate of 819,000 and 19.4% above the April 2014 figure of 826,000, the Commerce Department said.

Single-family housing completions in April were at a rate of 688,000, 14.5% above the revised March rate of 601,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 288,000.

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