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Builders broke ground in November on more houses than at any time in the past 19 months, led by a surge in multifamily units, signaling the market is stabilizing heading into 2012.
Starts increased 9.3 percent to a 685,000 annual rate, exceeding thehighest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the most since April 2010, Commerce Department figures showed today inWashington. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, also climbed to a more than one-year high.
Work on multifamily units like apartments and townhouses is growing as the rental market improves. Single-family-home construction may be starting to strengthen as lower home prices and borrowing costs near record lows draw in some buyers, even as builders face competition from existing houses as another wave of foreclosures throws more marked-down properties on the market.