Housing starts rose 3.9% overall and 6.9% for single-family homes in November, seasonally adjusted, compared to the same month in 2009, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Permits overall fell 4%, but single-family permits were up 3%.

Starts were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 555,000 in November, 5.8% below the same month last year, with single-family at 465,000, still 7.7%% below last November's pace.

Permits came in at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 530,000, 4% below the revised October rate of 552,000 and 14.7% below November 2009. Single-family permits were at a rate of 416,000, a 3% gain sequentially but a drop of 14.9% year-over-year.

Regionally, the gains were driven by a large jump in the Midwest and a solid gain in the South, the largest region by far. November starts were down 2.5% to a pace of 79,000 in the Northeast, down 1.8% to a rate of 56,000 for single-family. The Midwest jumped 15.8% to 110,000 and 15.1% to 84,000, respectively. The South rose 2.3% to a pace of 269,000, up 6.6% for single-family to 244,000. The West was up 2.1% to 97,000 and 6.6% to 81,000, respectively.

Compared to November, 2009, starts in the Northeast was up 19.7% overall and up 19.1% for single family; the Midwest up 2.8% and up 5%, respectively; the South down 11.2% and down 10%; and the West down 14.2% and down 23.6%.

Sequentially, permits in November were down 8.3% overall to a pace of 66,000 but up 6.8% for single-family to a pace of 47,000 in the Northeast; down 22.2% to 84,000 but up 4.1% to 76,000 for single-family, respectively in the Midwest; up 1.9% to 264,000 and up 3.5% to 209,000 in the South; and up 2.7% to 116,000 and down 1.2% to 84,000 in the West.

Compared to the same month last year, permits in the Northeast were down 8.3% overall but up 6.8% for single-family; the Midwest down 23.6% but up 4.1%, respectively; the South down 16.7% and 17.7%; and the West down 1.7% and 16%.