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U.S. Housing Starts Spike Much More Than Expected In December

New residential construction in the U.S. jumped by much more than expected in the month of December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.

The report said housing starts spiked by 5.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.669 million in December from the revised November estimate of 1.578 million.

Economists had expected housing starts to climb by 0.8 percent to a rate of 1.560 million from the 1.547 million originally reported for the previous month.

The Commerce Department said building permits also surged up by 4.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.709 million in December from the revised November rate of 1.635 million.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to slump by 2.1 percent to a rate of 1.604 million from the 1.639 million originally reported for the previous month.

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