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U.S. Housing Starts Unexpectedly Jump 1.4% In December.

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New residential construction in the U.S. unexpectedly saw a notable increase in the month of December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The report said housing starts jumped 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.702 million in December from a revised rate of 1.678 million in November.

Economists had expected housing starts to drop to a rate of 1.650 million from the 1.679 million originally reported for the previous month.

The Commerce Department also said building permits spiked by 9.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.873 million from a revised rate of 1.717 million in November.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, were expected to drop to a rate of 1.701 million from the 1.712 million originally reported for the previous month.

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