U.S. construction companies broke ground on a dramatically higher number of residences last month compared with the previous month in the latest sign that the nation’s real estate market may indeed be on the mend.

The Commerce Dept. said Wednesday that housing starts increased 15 percent in September from the previous month, and compared with a year earlier, when housing starts jumped 34.8 percent.

The biggest gain last month came in construction of single-family homes, which made up 69 percent of housing starts, surging 11 percent in September.