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      U.S. home building climbed 13.2 percent in April

      A builder works on a home under construction in northwest Chicago.

      JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer

      WASHINGTON (AP) â?? U.S home construction surged in April to its highest pace in six months. But almost all that increase came from the volatile apartment sector, a sign that Americans are still struggling financially to buy single-family homes.

      The Commerce Department says builders started work on 1.07 million homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in April, up 13.2 percent from 947,000 in March. The gains were driven by a 42.9 percent jump in the construction of apartments and condominiums. The rate of building single-family homes rose just 0.8 percent.

      Most of the gains in multi-family housing were concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, regions that are bouncing back from the harsh winter.

      Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, rose 8 percent to an annual rate of 1.08 million.

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