Single-family housing starts rose 2.4% in November on a sequential basis while multifamily starts jumped 32%, according to a new government report.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday morning that single-family housing starts rose to a 447,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in November from a 437,000 rate in October.

The improvement represents the second consecutive monthly increase in single-family construction activity and builders are growing more confident, according to National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe.

"Builders are reporting more inquiries and more interest among potential buyers than they have seen in previous months," Crowe said.

Meanwhile, multifamily construction activity spiked to a 230,000 SAAR in November -- the highest level in over three years. The multifamily sector has shown impressive growth this year, according to a commercial real estate report penned by the Wells Fargo Securities (WFS) economic group.

In the third quarter, "net absorption slowed modestly, but is still running well ahead of supply and apartment vacancy rates fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%," the WFS analysts said.

However, Wells sees signs of a potential slowdown in rent increases in the coming quarters. "Rental conversions in the single-family market may become a more meaningful competitor in 2012," the WFS report says

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