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US Home Building Surged in February

US home building jumped higher in February, turning around after five consecutive months of falling even as mortgage rates were climbing last month.

Housing starts, a measure of new home construction, rose by 9.8% in February from January. But that’s still down 18.4% from a year ago, according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau. Starts in January rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.450 million, up from the revised January estimate of 1.321 million.

Housing starts had big drops in May and July last year, when spiking mortgage rates pushed many prospective home buyers to the sidelines. Starts bounced back slightly in August, but have been falling since then.

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