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New Home Construction Rises

Housing starts, the number of new homes being built, rose 14.6% to an annual rate of 596,000 in January, up from 520,000 in December, the Commerce Department said.

Construction of buildings with five units or more, which tends to be volatile month-to-month -- gave the overall number a big boost when that category alone surged 80% in January.

Meanwhile, construction of single-family homes -- which is viewed as a more stable indicator of new homebuilding activity -- was flat. Given fierce winter storms across much of the country, it's an encouraging sign that category did not actually decline, Crowe said.

Crowe also said he expects new home construction to head upward 17% by the end of 2011.


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