The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1 percent higher than November's annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009.Construction increased last month for both single-family homes and apartments. And the pace in which builders requested permits to start more homes ticked up to a 4 Â½ year high.
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