US home building permits surged in October to the highest level in five years, suggesting stronger momentum ahead in the recovering housing market, government data shows.

Building permits, a signal of potential residential construction growth, rose to an annual rate of 1.034 million in October, up 6.2 per cent from September’s 974,000, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

The growth in building permits over the past two months was well above analysts’ average estimate of 932,000 per month.

It was the fastest pace of building permits issued since June 2008.

Publication of the September and October reports on building permits was delayed due to the partial US government shutdown in the first half of October.

Data on housing starts for those two months, normally published along with building permits, is scheduled for release on December 18 and will include the November numbers on new home construction.

Permits for multi-family units led the increase in October, soaring 16.9 per cent to a rate of 387,000 homes.

Permits for single-family homes, however, rose a modest 0.8 per cent to a rate 620,000