WASHINGTON -- Builders started construction last month on themost single-family homes and apartments since July 2008, more evidencethat the housing recovery is gaining momentum.

The CommerceDepartment says housing starts jumped 3.6% in October from September to aseasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000. Single-family homeconstruction dipped 0.2%.

Apartment construction, which is more volatile, rose 10%.

Applicationsfor building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 2.7% to866,000, after jumping 12% in September to a four-year high. Still,permit applications to build single-family homes rose to their highestlevel since July 2008.

Housing starts are 87% above the annualrate of 478,000 in April 2009, the recession low. That's still short ofthe 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy.