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New Home Construction Up 2.6%

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In yet another sign that the U.S. housing market is slowly improving, the Commerce Department announced on Wednesday that builders broke ground on more new homes last month.

The agency said home construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 717,000 homes in April.  That's up 2.6 percent from the month before and more than what economists had anticipated.

Robert Denk, a senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders, says the better-than-expected figure is encouraging.

"I think this is potentially a very good number.  This bodes well for the summer.  Things really can -- we expect the activity to pick up as the year unfolds," he says.

"Conditions are right.  Prices are low, mortgage rates are low; consumers are really sort of regaining their confidence," Denk adds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio