The numbers: U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.67 million in December, representing a 5.8% increase from the previous month’s figure, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.
Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.71 million, up 4.5% from November.
Compared with December 2019, housing starts were up 5%, while permits were up 17%. It was the highest level housing starts and building permits have reached since 2006.
Both figures came in above analysts’ expectations, reflecting growth in the single-family sector. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a pace of 1.56 million and building permits to come in at a pace of 1.61 million.
What happened: Growth in the single-family sector drove the rise in both housing starts and building permits. On a monthly basis, single-family starts were up 12%, while single-family permits