updated 12/19/2006 2:58:03 PM ET 2006-12-19T19:58:03

The pace of U.S. home building rose in November as new home starts climbed 6.7 percent, rebounding from a sharp decline in October while building permits fell 3 percent, a government report showed on Tuesday.

While the rise in housing starts in November beat economists’ expectations, permits to build new homes fell to their lowest rate in nearly nine years.

The Commerce Department said November housing starts came in at an annual pace of 1.588 million units, compared to 1.488 million units in October. Economists had forecast November housing starts to climb to 1.530 million units from October’s originally reported pace of 1.486 million units.

November housing starts were down 25.5 percent from the November 2005 pace of 2.131 million units.

Permits for future groundbreaking, an indicator of builder confidence, fell 3 percent to an annual pace of 1.506 million units, the lowest since December 1997, from a 1.553 million pace in October. Economists had expected the Commerce Department to report November permits at a 1.540 million pace.

Permits applications were down 31.3 percent from November 2005.

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