Housing starts declined by 4% last month, a setback following the 8.9% increase in November, according to according to a report issued today by the Commerce Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 557,000, compared to the revised estimate of 580,000 in November. December's figures were 0.2%higher than in December 2008.
Single-family housing fell 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 456,000. Single-family housing completions fell 11.1%.
Building permits rose 10.9% from November's level to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 557,000. That's 15.8% higher than in December 2008.
Housing starts declined from their November levels in the Northeast, Midwest, and West by 19%, 18.5%, and 0.9%, respectively and increased by 3.3% in the South.
Housing starts declined from their December 2008 levels in the Northeast and West by 19% and 19.4%, respectively. They increased in the Midwest and South by 15.8% and 9.5%, respectively.