U.S. March housing starts rise to highest since 2008

WASHINGTON, April 16 Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:42am EDT

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - Groundbreaking to build new U.S. homes rose in March to the highest level since 2008, adding to evidence of a healthier housing market.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that starts at building sites for homes rose 7.0 percent last month to a 1,036,000-unit annual rate. That was higher than analysts' expectations of a 930,000-unit rate.

A recovery in housing, driven by growing demand and record-low mortgage rates, is boosting other sectors of the economy. Home building added to national economic growth last year for the first time since 2005 and is expected to provide support this year.

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