New construction starts in October advanced 13 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $591.1 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The increase followed lackluster numbers in August and September and raised the Dodge Index to 125, compared to 111 in September.

Much of October’s gain for total construction was due to a sharp rebound by nonresidential building, with support coming from a strengthening multifamily housing sector.

During the first ten months of 2015, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $551.9 billion, up 10 percent from the same period a year ago. Leaving out the volatile electric utility and gas plant category, total construction starts during the first ten months of 2015 would be up 4 percent relative to last year.

“The healthy increase for construction starts in October alleviates concern about a stalling expansion that may have arisen with the sluggish activity in August and September,” says Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge. “… For the nonresidential building market, the primary drivers for its commercial and institutional building segments remain positive. The U.S. economy continues to register moderate job growth, vacancy rates are receding, rents are rising, and construction-related bond measures at the state level are getting passed. For residential building, multifamily housing is still a target for investors while Millennials are lifting the demand for apartments.”

Nonresidential building in October jumped 32 percent to $200.7 billion (annual rate) after a weak September, returning activity to the level that was reported back in June following three months of decline. The commercial building categories as a group soared 49 percent in October, reflecting across-the-board gains. Store construction surged 56 percent, and office construction advanced 45 percent. The institutional side of the nonresidential building market climbed 23 percent in October, while the educational facilities category increased 21 percent. Healthcare facilities in October rose 18 percent.

Residential building, at $260.3 billion (annual rate), grew 9 percent in October. Multifamily housing bounced back 42 percent after a subdued September, coming within 6 percent of its average pace during the first nine months of this year. “While the multifamily strength during much of 2015 has been dominated by major projects in the New York City area, the pattern in October suggests that the multifamily expansion is now widening in geographic scope,” says Murray.

The 10-percent increase for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis during the first ten months of 2015 was the result of double-digit gains for residential building and nonbuilding construction, while nonresidential building was down moderately after registering a substantial 24-percent hike for the full year 2014. Residential building advanced 15 percent year-to-date, with multifamily housing up 19 percent and single-family housing up 13

Nonresidential building year-to-date settled back 6 percent, due mostly to a 31-percent plunge for the manufacturing building category. The commercial building group year-to-date was steady with its 2014 amount, while the institutional building group was down 3 percent. By major region, total construction starts during the first ten months of 2015 were: South Central, up 21 percent; the Northeast, up 18 percent; the South Atlantic, up 9 percent; the West, up 4 percent; and the Midwest, up 1 percent.