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Home construction up for second month

Construction of new homes rose for a second straight month in March, providing at least the glimmer of hope that the worst of the housing downturn may be over.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Construction of new homes rose for a second straight month in March, providing at least the glimmer of hope that the worst of the housing downturn may be over.

The Commerce Department said that builders started work on 1.518 million new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in March, an increase of 0.8 percent. In February, housing construction had risen by 7.6 percent.

While the March construction figure was helped by unseasonably warm weather, the government reported that applications for new building permits also rose during the month, increasing by 0.8 percent, the first advance in three months.

That gain was viewed as possibly signaling that the worst of the severe slump in housing may be coming to and end.