U.S. Housing Starts, Permits Fall in December

Economic Indicators Reuters

U.S. housing starts and permits fell in December after hefty gains the prior month, adding to a raft of weak data that have raised concerns over the health of the economy.

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Groundbreaking dropped 2.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.15 million units, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. November's starts were revised to a 1.8 million-unit rate from the previously reported 1.17 million-unit pace.

December was the ninth straight month that starts were above 1 million units, the longest run since 2007. Housing starts averaged 1.11 million units in 2015, the highest since 2007 and up from 1.00 million units in 2014.

Building permits fell 3.9 percent a 1.23 million-unit rate last month. The drop followed two months of hefty gains.

Permits for the construction of single-family homes rose 1.8 percent last month. Multi-family building permits tumbled 11.4 percent.


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(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)