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Homebuilders Take a Short Hiatus in December

Housing starts slipped in December, but less than expected, government data show.
Housing starts slipped in December, but less than expected, government data show. Nam Y. Huh / AP

U.S. housing starts fell less than expected in December, pausing after sizzling gains that had pushed home building activity to multi-year highs.

The Commerce Department said on Friday groundbreaking dropped 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000-unit pace. It was the largest percentage decline since April.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to fall to a 990,000-unit rate in December. For all of 2013, starts increased 18.3 percent to an average of 923,400-units.

Groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, fell 7.0 percent to a 667,000-unit pace in December. Starts for the volatile multi-family homes segment declined 14.9 percent to a 332,000-unit rate.

-Reuters