Home starts rose 8.9% between October and November, according to the Commerce Department. The increase is attributed to unseasonably warm and dry weather. Building permits, which are not impacted by weather conditions, were up 6%, but some analysts said the increases are troublesome. "Everyone still agrees that there is a disturbingly high level of vacant homes still on the market," said Thomas A. Lawler, founder of Lawler Economic and Housing Consulting. "The best thing that can happen would be a continued subdued pace of construction."

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