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November housing starts stall at 861,000

It wasn't the blockbuster, early Christmas present that construction industry executives were secretly wishing for, but the housing starts report for November at least delivered another big increase over the year-ago figure. 

The Department of Commerce's New Residential Construction Report for November showed housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That's 3.0% below the downwardly revised October estimate of 888,000, but 21.6% above the November 2011 rate of 708,000.

Looking only at single-family housing starts -- the bread and butter of dealers and builders -- the figures were, once again, down for the month but up for the year. At a pace of 565,000 in November, single-family starts were down 4.1% from October, and up 22.8% compared with the same month last year. 

The building-permit situation showed more momentum. Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in November were at a pace of 899,000, up 3.6% above the revised October rate of 868,000 and up 26.8% above the November 2011 estimate of 709,000.

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