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Builders broke ground on more new homes in August as the pace of single-family home construction surged to its strongest level in more than two years, yet more evidence that the housing market is turning around despite lackluster economic news.

Housing starts rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 homes, the Commerce Department reported, lower than the 765,000-home rate economists

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predicted, but still almost 30 percent higher than figures in August 2011. Positive signs are emerging from the housing market, suggesting that the entire market, not just individual sub-markets, are stabilizing and steadying themselves for future growth.

In other good news, architects—another industry battered by the collapse of the construction sector—reported increased billings, according to Architect magazine.

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According to the magazine’s billings index, figures are finally above the break-even point, indicating that demand for architecture work is growing again. “While not as robust as the numbers from last fall and winter, these nevertheless show an industry that is growing again, albeit slightly,” Architect reported.