Housing starts surged to a 1-1/2 year high in November and permits for future construction were the highest since March 2010 as demand for rental apartments rose, offering hope for the weak housing market.
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The Commerce Department said on Tuesday housing starts jumped 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units, the highest since April last year.
October's starts were revised down to a 627,000-unit pace from a previously reported 628,000 unit rate.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a 635,000-unit rate. Compared to November last year, residential construction was up 24.3 percent.