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MW: Home builders speed up work in February
 
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Construction on new houses climbed 3% in February to the second highest level since 2007, reflecting pentup demand in a steadily growing economy that builders are aiming to address.

The pace of so-called housing starts rose to an annual rate of 1.29 million last month, with construction on single-family homes hitting the highest level since before the Great Recession.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast housing starts to total 1.27 million. Figures are seasonally adjusted.

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The only other month during a nearly eight year old recovery in which housing starts have been higher was last October.


In premarket trades, stock futures pointed to a higher opening for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.54%

Sales of new and used properties have been rising gradually for years, propelled by low interest rates and a stable economy that’s put millions of Americans back to work and given them the means to buy a home.

The sales environment is getting a bit tougher, however, as interest rates continue to rise and increase the cost of mortgages. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised the cost of borrowing for the second time in three months and it’s on track to raise rates at least two more times this year. DJIA, +0.54%

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