WASHINGTON — Groundbreaking for new U.S. home construction increased 5.8% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 672,000, as building permits fell 11.5% to 606,000, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

While the housing starts figure — the highest since October 2008 — surpassed economists’ expectation of an annualized rate of 650,000 starts, the number of new permits fell far short of a 680,000-rate forecast, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

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