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Housing construction rose modestly in August, with all the strength coming from a big jump in single-family-home projects. Construction of apartments and condos fell sharply.

The Commerce Department reported today that builders began work on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.53 million last month, a 0.3 percent increase from July, the first increase in four months.

The August increase was smaller than many analysts anticipated.

In July, housing construction fell by 2.9 percent, according to revised figures. That was a smaller decline than estimated.

Housing construction has been an engine of the vibrant economy and even with higher interest rates, activity has remained healthy.

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