U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in December as groundbreaking for single-family homes hit its highest level in more than 6-1/2 years, in a hopeful sign for the sluggish housing market recovery.
Starts increased 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.09 million units, the Commerce Department said.
November’s starts were revised up to a 1.04 million-unit pace. For all of 2014, groundbreaking increased 8.8 percent to 1.01 million units, the highest since 2007.
Single-family homes starts, the largest part of the market, jumped 7.2 percent to a 728,000-unit pace, the highest level since March 2008. Groundbreaking on single-family projects in the West hit a seven-year high, while starts in the Midwest were the highest since December 2011. Groundbreaking in the volatile multi-family homes segment fell 0.8 percent to a 361,000-unit pace.