U.S. housing starts up sharply

U.S. housing starts jumped in April and building permits hit their highest level in nearly six years, offering hope that the troubled housing market could be stabilizing, reports Reuters.

The Commerce Department said groundbreaking increased 13.2 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.07 million units, the highest level since November 2013.

Starts rose by a revised 2.0 per cent in March. They had previously been reported to have gained 2.8 per cent.

The residential sector contracted in the first three months of 2014, declining for a second consecutive quarter.

Last month, groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, rose 0.8 per cent to a 649,000-unit pace. Starts for the volatile multi-family homes segment surged 39.6 per cent to a 423,000-unit rate.

Permits to build homes jumped 8.0 per cent to a 1.08-million unit pace in April, the highest since June 2008. Economists had expected permits to rise to a 1.01-million unit pace.

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