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Us Housing Starts Tumble 8.9 Percent

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Housing starts tumble 8.9 percent


Feds: December pace slows on single-family construction, offsetting starts on multifamily units.

January 19, 2006: 8:55 AM EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. housing starts fell 8.9 percent in December as single-family house construction tumbled, offsetting an increase in groundbreaking on multifamily units and pointing to further cooling after a five-year boom, a government report showed Thursday.

The Commerce Department said December housing starts slipped to a 1.933 million unit annual rate from November's 2.121 million unit pace.

That was slower than the 2.05 million unit pace expected on Wall Street. Still, economists had expected starts to decline from November's originally reported 2.123 million rate due to slower home buying and seasonal weather factors.

For the year as a whole, starts increased 5.6 percent to 2.065 million units -- the second-highest level on record. The record came in 1972, when starts hit 2.357 million units. Permits in 2005 also logged their second-highest level since 1972.

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