Housing-start pace gains speed, fastest since 2008

U.S. builders broke ground on homes at the fastest pace in more than five years, strong evidence that the housing recovery is accelerating despite higher mortgage rates.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that developers began construction on houses and apartments in November at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million. That’s 23 percent more than October’s pace of 889,000 and the fastest since February 2008, just a few months after the recession began.

Construction of single-family homes jumped 21 percent to an annual pace of 727,000, also the highest in more than five years. Apartment construction soared 26 percent to a 354,000 annual pace.

Delta Air Lines won’t allow voice calls

Delta Air Lines won’t allow passengers to make voice calls from its planes.

Right now, federal rules prohibit voice calls on planes. But the government is indicating that it might loosen those rules. If that happens, it could be up to airlines to set their own policies. On Wednesday, Delta went ahead and said, in effect, hang up and enjoy the view from 40,000 feet.

CEO Richard Anderson told workers in a memo that the airline will not allow cell calls or internet-based voice communications on mainline or Delta Connection flights, which are operated by other airlines under contract for Delta, based on customer and employee preference.

Atlanta-based Delta is one of the world’s biggest airlines.

JPMorgan suing to recover $1 billion loss in bank buy

JPMorgan is suing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to recover more than $1 billion tied to its purchase of Washington Mutual when that bank failed in 2008.

In a federal court complaint, the biggest U.S. bank said that the FDIC failed to honor obligations under the Washington Mutual agreement, and that has subjected JP Morgan to massive liability.

The FDIC became the receiver for Seattle-based Washington Mutual when it collapsed during the height of the financial crisis in September 2008. It was the largest bank failure in U.S. history. The FDIC brokered the sale of Washington Mutual’s assets to JP Morgan for $1.9 billion.

– From news service reports