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KB Home teams up for new lender

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- KB Home is teaming up with Nationstar Mortgage LLC to create a new mortgage company, as the real estate market makes a steady recovery.

Resales of previously occupied homes dipped in December, but partly because of a limited supply, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

For all of 2012, sales rose to their highest level in five years.

KB Home said Tuesday that Nationstar will continue to serve as its preferred mortgage lender until the new mortgage company, called Home Community Mortgage LLC, begins operations later this year.

Nationstar has a portfolio of about $425 billion and more than 2.5 million customers.

Last month, shares of Los Angeles-based KB Home (NYSE: KBH) topped Wall Street expectations for the final quarter of the year on strong pricing and demand.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that December housing starts rose 12.1 percent to a 954,000 annual rate, the most since June 2008.

For 2012, construction began on 780,000 homes, up from 608,800 in 2011 and the best year since 2008.

At the end of 2012, the Commerce Department also reported sales of new homes in November climbed 4.4 percent to a 377,000 annual pace, the highest since April 2010.

New-home sales were at a revised 310,000 pace in October 2012.

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