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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) " 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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