Housing construction jumps by 17%

June 16, 2009 5:39:39 AM PDT
Construction of new homes has jumped in May by the largest amount in three months, providing an encouraging sign that the nation's deep housing recession was beginning to bottom out. The Commerce Department says that construction of new homes and apartments jumped 17.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 units. That was better than the 500,000-unit pace that economists had expected and came after construction had fallen in April to a record low of 454,000 units.

In another encouraging sign, applications for building permits, seen as a good indicator of future activity, rose by 4 percent in May to an annual rate of 518,000 units.

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