Construction started on new U.S. homes sprang up 20.2% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million, hitting the fastest rate since late 2007, according to government data released Tuesday. Starts for single-family homes rose 16.7% to an annual rate of 733,000, the fastest pace since early 2008, while starts in buildings with at least five units rose 31.9% to a pace of 389,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an overall April starts rate of 1.03 million, compared with an originally estimated pace of 926,000 for March. On Tuesday the government revised March's starts rate to 944,000. For context, there was an average starts pace of about 1.5 million over the 20 years leading up to the housing bubble's 2006 peak. The annual pace of permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, sprang up 10.1% in April to 1.14 million, the most since mid-2008. The pace of permits for single-family homes rose 3.7% to an annual rate of 666,000, while the pace of permits for apartments rose 20% to 444,000. Economists caution over reading too much into a single monthly home-construction report because the data are subject to substantial revisions.
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