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Housing Starts in U.S. Increase to 19-Month High: Economy

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 the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the most since April 2010, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, also climbed to a more than one-year high.