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Housing Starts Rose In March

There was a 7.2 percent increase in housing starts last month, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Starts were still down 13.4 percent from a year earlier, however.

As for what lies ahead, the agencies say that the number of building permits issued last month for housing units rose by 11.2 percent, to an annual rate of 594,000. But permits were also still about 13 percent below the pace of a year ago.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.