February saw an increase of 0.8 percent in ground broken to build new homes in the U.S., to an annual rate of 917,000 units. This is the highest level since 2008, when the housing market collapsed just prior to the world economic crisis. Permits for future construction also jumped 4.6 percent to a 946,000-unit rate, the biggest increase since June 2008. All of this points to growing economic momentum in the first quarter of the year.
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