Housing construction jumps

Construction of new homes, helped by better weather, rebounded in November following a setback in the previous month.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday morning that  construction of new homes and apartments rose 8.9 percent
in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 574,000 units. The gain represented strength in all areas of the country
although the increase was slightly lower than economists had expected.

Applications for new building permits were
also up, rising 6 percent to an annual rate of 584,000 units, a stronger showing than economists predicted.

The
gains make up a hopeful sign that the housing recovery is continuing, a development viewed as critical to lifting the overall
economy out of recession.

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