Data from the Commerce Department, showed a 25% increase in multi-family homes, such as apartments, a volatile part of the market. Construction of single-family homes, which makes up about 65% of the market, rose only 2.3%.
Stocks of home builders and apartment operators gained following the news. Beazer jumped 15%, Lennar rose 6.3% and Toll Brothers advanced 6.4%.
Light, sweet crude closed at $97.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.