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March Housing Construction Highest Since 2008

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WASHINGTON (4/17/13)--New home construction in the U.S. surged in March to its highest level since the start of the financial crisis--buoyed by a gain in construction of multifamily projects.

Although total housing starts climbed by 7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million--the most since June 2008--single-family home construction declined, the Commerce Department said Tuesday (The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com April 16).

The March rise follows a 6% upward revision for February to 968,000, the department said.

Economic growth is being supported by the bounce-back in construction as builders hustle to meet the growing demand for rental units, Bloomberg said.   

It doesn't matter if demand for housing is generated by homebuyers or renters because the end result is that roofs are going up "over peoples' heads," Aneta Markowska, chief economist at Societe Generale in New York, told Bloomberg. However, housing activity and prices still can improve--which is essential for the U.S. economy, she added.