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Don’t get too excited now, but residential construction spending is up for the first time in 17 months, the Associate Press reports.

The report said that construction activity was flat in August, an outcome better than the 0.5 percent fall that economists had expected.

The big surprise was a 0.3 percent rise in residential activity, the first increase in housing activity since March 2007.

It was only the second monthly rise for housing in the last 29 months, a prolonged period of distress when the industry has been battered by slumping sales, falling prices and soaring mortgage defaults.