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.
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.
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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.