new home sales
A worker walks on scaffolding at the construction site of a new home in Carlsbad, California, Sept. 22, 2014. Reuters

New homebuilding in the U.S. rose in September, a sign that the housing market’s gradual recovery underlies the broader economy’s growing strength.

Housing starts rose 6.3 percent from August, to an annual pace of 1.02 million units, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected slightly smaller growth. In August, housing starts advanced only 1.5 percent.

New housing starts for single-family homes, the bulk of the new-home market, rose 1.1 percent last month. The more volatile multifamily homes segment jumped 16.7 percent.

Housing starts make up only 10 percent of the housing market, with existing-home sales accounting for the rest. But Friday's data has a multiplier effect across the economy and, as such, tells economists how many people will pay for new homes, how confident builders are that they will complete projects, how much employment will rise in construction and how much income will enter the economy. Once homes are sold, retailers see increases in sales of appliances, furniture and other home goods.

Housing is making a gradual comeback after imploding during the 2008-2009 recession. Last week, the average 30-year mortgage rate fell to its lowest level since June 2013.