While permits fell from the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said December was another exceptional month for residential housing starts. Those starts soared to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,608,000 during the month, a 16.9 percent increase from November's estimate which was revised from 1,365,000 to 1,375,000. The December number was the highest monthly rate for starts since the same month in 2006 and was 40.8 percent higher than last year's December pace.


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