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CHICAGO  — It's much cheaper to buy a home than rent one in 100 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a report released on Thursday by the real-estate website Trulia. 

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Tampa Bay Times - Tampa Bay is sprouting new homes more quickly than several other Florida communities, with its 4,500 housing starts over the past year outpacing Jacksonville, with 3,300 starts, and South Florida, with about 4,000, Metrostudy data show. 

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(AP) WASHINGTON — U.S. builders started construction on homes in September at the fastest rate since July 2008 and made plans to build even more homes in the coming months. The gains show the housing recovery is strengthening and could help the economy grow. 

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)  -- It's been a long time coming, but economists surveyed by CNNMoney believe the nation's housing market has finally turned the corner. 

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Home resales rose at the fastest pace in two years last month and housing prices climbed in hopeful signs that the housing market recovery is gaining traction. 
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Existing home sales rose 2.3 percent last month, with sales rising to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of to 4.47 million units, up from 4.37 million units in June, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday . That was just below analysts' expectations of a 4.52 million-unit rate. Sales were 10.4 percent above the 4.05 million-unit pace in July 2011. 

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Tampa Bay home sales and prices continued to climb last month, revealing hints of a housing recovery gaining steam statewide. 

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Florida is believed to be the first in the nation to get its own home sales price index, a labor of love for the state real estate group’s chief economist and a more accurate measure of property values in the recovering market. 

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Home construction is making a long-awaited recovery that could help energize the U.S. economy. 

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Shawn Merritt liked the idea of a newly built home. No repairs. Less hassle. Better energy efficiency. And, as he found out, the price is right, too. "It feels like a dream," he said. "It's the first home I've ever bought. It was the right time to buy." Thousands of new home buyers in the United States would agree.

In Tampa Bay, housing and mortgage experts say new home sales are being driven by people like Merritt in their 20s and early 30s, and baby boomers once again flocking to Florida for retirement after a significant slowdown brought on by the Great Recession. New home starts jumped nearly 27 percent in the first quarter in the bay area. Another boost to the new home market: Buyers who lost homes in the first foreclosure wave four or five years ago are looking to buy again after mending their credit ratings and renting for several years. Builders are counting on a steady flow of first-time buyers, especially people born after 1980, experts say. "We expect to see a big demand moving forward," said Tony Polito of Tampa's Metrostudy, a national company that tracks the construction industry. "We expect first-time buyers to be a growing portion of the market." 

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