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WASHINGTON (AP) — Home construction increased last month and applications for building permits also grew. The gains were driven mainly by apartment and condominium construction, not the much larger single-family homes sector.
Construction of new homes and apartments rose 10.5 percent in August from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That’s the highest level since April.
Pulling the figures up was a 32 percent monthly increase in the condominium and apartment market, a small portion of the market. Single-family homes, which represented about 73 percent of the market in August, grew more than 4 percent.
Housing starts are up 25 percent from their bottom in April 2009. But they remain 74 percent below their peak in January 2006. Single-family housing starts are up 11 percent from their low point in January 2009, but down 78 percent from their peak in January 2006.
Builders are struggling with weak demand for new homes caused by high unemployment and a glut of foreclosed homes on the market. They benefited in the spring from federal tax credits, but those expired in April.
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