After experiencing substantial growth in the fall to their highest level all year, housing starts fell a little anticlimactically in December, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. However, at their third-highest level for the year, they still exceeded economists' expectations.
At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000, they were 9.8% below the revised November estimate of 1.11 million, though this was a 1.6% improvement over December 2012.
Similarly, single-family housing starts came in at 667,000, which was 7.0% below the revised November figure of 717,000.
End-of-the-year stumbling blocks aside, 2013 as a whole marked an 18.3% improvement over 2012, with an estimated 923,400 units started.
Overall, this was the best year for starts since 2007, but well under the 2.07 million peak from 2005.