The Commerce Department said Thursday that applications for building permits rose 14.3 percent to a rate of 1.02 million, the most since June 2008.
Builders are benefiting from a sustained rebound in housing that began a year ago. Steady job growth, rock-bottom mortgage rates and rising home values have boosted demand.
Housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 853,000 which was a decline from last month. However, the majority of that decline was in apartment and multi-family and not in single family residences.
Confidence among builders is rising. The National Association of Home Builders says its builder confidence index rebounded in May to a reading of 44, up from 41 in April. The outlook for sales reached its highest point in more than six years.