WASHINGTON - Construction of new U.S. homes rose in June to the highest level in seven months, a sign builders are starting to regain confidence as they emerge from the housing bust.
The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments jumped 3.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 582,000 units, from an upwardly revised rate of 562,000 in May.
That was better than the 530,000 unit pace economists expected, and was the second straight increase after April's record low of 479,000 units.
In another encouraging sign, applications for building permits, seen as a good indicator of future activity, rose 8.7 percent in June to an annual rate of 563,000 units. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected an annual rate of 520,000 units.
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