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Home building picks up at year's end
Home building picks up at year's end

Home builders ended the year on a strong note. Housing starts picked up 4.4% from November, and were up 5.3% from the same month last year, with the gains coming chiefly from single-family houses. Both starts and building permits for single-family homes in December hit their highest levels since 2008. That's according to new figures from the Census Bureau on Wednesday. It's a sign that the housing recovery is finally starting to spread into the new-home market, which has been sluggish as cash-strapped buyers have stayed away and many builders have focused on building pricier, but fewer, houses. "The single-family market ended the year with a bang," wrote Patrick...

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