US home construction rises 4.4 percent in December with annual total strongest in 9 years

Industrials Associated Press

Construction of new homes rebounded in December, helping to push activity for the entire year to the highest level since the peak of the housing boom nine years ago.

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The Commerce Department says builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million in December, an increase of 4.4 percent from November, when unusually severe weather pushed activity down 4.5 percent.

For all of 2014, builders started construction on 1.01 million new homes and apartments, an increase of 8.8 percent from 2013. It was the first time construction has topped 1 million since 2005, the height of the housing boom, when builders started work on 2.07 million homes. Construction activity plunged to 587,000 in 2010 and has been making a slow recovery since then.