Hot House: The Commerce Department will release September housing construction figures Thursday, and most industry observers expect a strong performance for Southern California. Home construction in the state and the rest of the nation has been robust all summer long, thanks to a decline in interest rates and pent-up demand, according to economists. All signs--but notably the number of building permits issued the previous month (construction usually starts a month after a permit is issued)--suggest that September was busy for California home builders. In August, the number of single-family housing permits issued on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis jumped 12.1% from July to 88,000 units, according to the Construction Industry Research Board. "We had a very slow start this year," Wells Fargo real estate economist Chris Taylor said, but "the last couple of months in California residential construction have looked pretty good."