The Real Deal Miami

U.S. housing starts fall below expectations

January 19, 2011 12:33PM

U.S. home builders broke ground on fewer homes than expected in December, dragging housing starts down to an annual rate of 529,000 — their lowest level in over a year, according to new data from the Commerce Department, released today. Although previous estimates had forecast that last month’s housing starts numbers would be unchanged from November, that rate actually represents a 4.3 percent decline from the month before. The rate is also 8.2 percent below its level one year ago. But recovery for home builders may be on the horizon, as building permits issued for new privately-owned homes — an indicator of future residential construction activity — soared by 16.7 percent last month over November’s level, to an annual rate of 635,000. Homes completed last month also increased by 4.1 percent over November, for an annual rate of 585,000. TRD