U.S. builders started work on more than 1 million homes at an annual rate in March. That's the first time the pace has topped that threshold in nearly 5 years.
The housing recovery is helping boost economic growth this year. Builders are starting work on more homes, creating more construction jobs. And home prices are rising. Higher prices tend to make homeowners feel wealthier and encourage more spending.
Mortgage rates, meanwhile, remain near record lows. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.4 percent last week, from 3.41 percent. That's not far from the record low of 3.31 percent, reached in November
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 2.61 percent last week, the lowest on records dating back to 1991.