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Apartment construction spurs 9.3 pct. jump in housing starts, but level remains low
WASHINGTON (AP) ' A surge in apartment construction gave builders more work in November. But 2011 is still shaping up to be one of the worst years in history for homebuilders.
The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 homes last month, a 9.3 percent jump from October. That's the highest level since April 2010.
Still, that's far below the 1.2 million homes that economists say would be built each year in a healthy housing market.
Building permits, a gauge of future construction, rose by 5.7 percent. The increase was spurred by more apartment permits.
New homes have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates three jobs for a year and $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.