U.S. housing starts surged to their highest level in nearly six years in November, a sign of strength in the housing market that could give the Federal Reserve ammunition to start cutting back its bond purchases.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday housing starts jumped 22.7 percent, the biggest increase since January 1990, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units.
That was the highest level since February 2008 and only the second time since the collapse of the housing market in 2006 that starts rose above a 1 million-unit pace.
The department also said groundbreaking increased 1.8 percent in October and slipped 1.1 percent in September. The release of housing starts data for September and October was delayed because of a 16-day shutdown of the federal government in October.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to come in at a 950,000-unit rate in November and set a 915,000-unit pace in October.
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