Building permits nationwide jumped 10.9 percent to a 653,000 annual rate, according to new data from IHS Global Insights. That was the best reading in 19 months and the group is calling it “good news at last.”

IHS doesn’t break out the data by metro area, but they did say that starts were up in the Northeast, Midwest and South, but down in the West. Though starts for single-family houses rose to their highest level in 10 months, the market is on track to set a record low for the year.

On Wednesday the National Association of Homebuilders said that builder sentiment was low, but had improved slightly. Locally, construction activity has been historically low, but seems to have stabilized, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.

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