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Surge in home construction likely to continue

Friday - 1/18/2013, 9:54am  ET

In this Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, photo a new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio. US home construction surges 12.1 percent in December to end best year since 2008. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The aftermath of the housing bust forced many homebuilders to dramatically scale back construction on new homes to avoid the risk of ending up saddled with a trove of newly built, yet unsold properties.

But an improving housing market has homebuilders feeling more confident about sales, and that's likely to kick the pace of new construction into a higher gear this year.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1 percent higher than November's annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009.

Construction increased last month for both single-family homes and apartments. And the pace in which builders requested permits to start more homes ticked up to a 4
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