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HOME BUILDERS PICK UP PACE IN THE US

American builders speeded up construction of new homes by 6.7 percent in April after slogging through three months of winter that slowed housing activity throughout much of the country, the government reported May 18.

Housing starts increased in every region except the Midwest, where they fell slightly.

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The Commerce Department said construction of new single-family homes and apartments totaled 1.21 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from 1.14 million a month earlier.

It was the largest increase since an 11.1 percent gain last August. Analysts had expected starts to advance about 6 percent.