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STRONG STARTS: builders started construction on single-family homes and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September, up 15 percent from August.
NICER NEIGHBORHOOD: The September construction level was the highest since July 2008. Applications for building permits also hit a four-year high in September, climbing 12 percent to a rate of 894,000.
DOWN THE STREET: The pace of construction has grown steadily over the past year, supported by record-low mortgage rates. Activity is still below the 1.5 million level that economists view as a healthy market. Some analysts believe that won't be reached until 2014.