New Commerce Department data shows the pace of construction of single family homes and apartments in September was the fastest since the summer of 2008.

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Pat O'Keefe, Director of Economic Research at CohnReznick, says, "Here in New Jersey, we're benefiting from what we see nationally, which is a recovery from the worst downturn in memory. With respect to housing construction, slowly here in New Jersey - a little bit faster in the rest of the country - month by month - activity for home builders is picking up."

He says, "One of the things that's noteworthy is the extent to which the new construction here in New Jersey is concentrated in the multi-family component -largely units that are being built as apartments to be rented to households, rather than for sale, but the overall picture here for the first time in a long time is optimistic."

O'Keefe says the uptick is welcome news.

"There are significant economic benefits from the construction industry generally and from home building in particular. There are jobs created, not only in the actual construction of the units, but among the suppliers and professionals who support that construction. There is income generated, and that income then finds its way into retail sales, and investments, and all of those add to the momentum of the growth of the general economy."

He points out, "New Jersey's housing market is still somewhat restrained by the foreclosure pipeline… It'll take into 2013 for the backlog to be fully processed, but we're making progress there too…While this state's housing market is not recovering as robustly as the nation as a whole, it is on the right path."