Groundbreaking for new U.S. home construction surged in May, soaring 17.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 units as building permits climbed 4.0% to an annual rate of 518,000 units, according to Commerce Department data released yesterday.

The rate for housing starts surpassed the 490,000 level predicted by Thomson Reuters’ poll of economists, which had projected a 500,000 rate for permits.

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