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New-home construction rises to six-month high

6:44 AM, Apr 19, 2011   |    comments
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By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Builders broke ground last month on the most new homes in six months, giving the weak housing market a slight boost.

The Commerce Department says home construction rose 7.2 percent in March from February to a seasonally adjusted 549,000 units. Building permits, an indicator of future construction, rose 11.2 percent after hitting a five-decade low in February.

Still, the building pace is far below the 1.2 million units a year that economists consider healthy. And March's improvement came after construction fell in February to its second-lowest level on records dating back more than a half-century.

New homes can spur job growth. Each new home built creates the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Associated Press

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