This was found at Bloomberg yesterday:
Housing starts looked good for November but most of the gain was largely a comeback and then some in multifamily starts-a volatile component. The single-family component posted only a partial rebound. Construction companies picked up the pace of groundbreaking for new homes as housing starts in November rebounded 8.9 percent, following a revised 10.1 percent plummet in October. The November pace of 0.574 million units annualized came in right at the market forecast for 0.575 million units and was down 12.4 percent on a year-ago basis. The latest comeback was led by a 67.3 percent rebound in multifamily starts, following a sharp 29.5 percent plunge in October. Meanwhile the single-family component edged up 2.1 percent after a 7.1 percent fall the month before.
A housing start is registered at the start of construction of a new building intended primarily as a residential building. The start of construction is defined as the beginning of excavation of the foundation for the building.