US home construction posted solid gain in June

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Construction of new homes posted a solid increase in June, led by a surge of building in the Northeast and the West.

The Commerce Department says housing starts rose 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million from 1.14 million in May. That was the highest level since February. Construction of single-family homes rose 4.4 percent to 778,000.

Home construction jumped 46.3 percent in the Northeast and 17.4 percent in the West.

During the housing boom of the mid-2000s, housing starts sometimes ranged above a 1.7 million annual rate. In the bust that followed, they fell below 600,000. Over the past year, they have mostly stayed between 1.1 million and 1.2 million.

Super-low mortgage rates and a growing job market have encouraged home buying.