Housing starts fall 10% in December, capping off best year since 2007

Updated Jan 20, 2014

home builderFollowing the largest monthly gain in 24 years in November, housing starts fell back to earth in December.

Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000 in December, according to data from the Commerce Department. That’s a 10 percent drop from November’s revised estimate of 1.017 million.

December’s drop was the largest since April. However, it capped off the best year for homebuilding since 2007 when 1.36 million homes were started. During 2013, home builders started 923,000 homes, an increase of 18 percent from 2012. That’s the fourth consecutive annual gain

Starts in December were 1.6 percent higher than December 2012’s figure of 983,000.

Apartments starts saw the biggest fall off with an 18% decrease in December to a rate of 312,000. Single-family homes fell 7 percent to a rate of 667,000.

Permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 986,000 in Deceber, a decrease of 3 percent from November. December’s permit rate is still 4.6 percent higher than the November 2012 rate.

Permits issued to single-family homes fell 4.8 percent to a rate of 610,000 while permits issued to apartments fell 0.6 percent to a rate of 350,000.

Home completions fell too, dropping 10 percent to a rate of 744,000. That number is 11 percent higher than December 2012. Single-family home completions were down 8.2 percent to a rate of 550,000 while apartment completions fell 20 percent to a rate of 183,000.