US housing starts fell in April but permits surged

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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders broke ground on far fewer homes in April, one month after topping the 1 million mark for the first time since 2008. But applications for new construction rose to a five-year peak, evidence that the housing revival will be sustained.

The Commerce Department says U.S. builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000 in April, a 16.5 percent drop from the March pace of 1.02 million. Applications for building permits rose 14.3 percent to a rate of 1.02 million, the highest since June 2008.

Homebuilders are benefiting from a sustained rebound in housing that began a year ago. Steady job growth, rock-bottom mortgage rates and rising home values have increased demand for new homes.

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