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Topic - Pierre Ellis
U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008 and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis.
The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January to the highest level in nearly two years, supporting the view that the housing market is gradually coming back.
Sales of new homes dipped in January but the final quarter of 2011 was stronger than first estimated.
The outlook for American jobs and trade looked a little brighter Thursday, despite growing uncertainty overseas.
A weak economy got a little lift Thursday with new data suggesting companies aren't pursuing mass layoffs and stores are a little busier.
The recent run of bad economic figures continued Thursday, as new jobless claims reached a six-month high, Wall Street lost more ground, several companies released disappointing earnings reports and the foreclosure rate rose for the eighth month in a row.
"The strong rise in single-family starts is a clear indication of builder confidence in the sales outlook," said Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics, in a note to clients.
Higher new home sales seem "to have largely justified the 11 percent jump in September housing starts," Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics, said.