When the new solar cycle begins, the polarity strength of each hemisphere maxes, and then begins to decrease as the two hemispheres start to blend together. The northern hemisphere appears to already have peaked and is decreasing, while the southern looks like it's just beginning to drop. This helps explain why the new sunspot was in the northern hemisphere.
The average magnetic field strength peaked a bit higher than the beginning of last cycle's, so this could mean a more active maximum. Though as Christian Harris points out in his post, the amount of data we have compared to our star's lifespan is basically zero - so it's hard to tell.
Source: Posted by Christian Harris on SpaceWeatherLive.com
Graph at Top of Page: Courtesy of The Wilcox Solar Observatory.