Housing starts in the U.S. last year reached their highest level in nine years, leading experts to question whether 2017 will be marked with similar achievements. Overall, housing starts nationwide were up 11.3 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million, according to the Department of Commerce. Permits, an indicator of future construction, dipped a mere 0.2 percent during the month.
Home construction has been one of the weakest areas in the housing market for years and has caused a drag on recovery from the Great Recession.
"When you look at single-family [construction] we're still at recession levels, which is quite remarkable because historically the real-estate cycle leads the business cycle," said deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, Sam Khater.
Multi-family housing construction has helped boost these latest figures to their highest levels since 2006. Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed rates are averaging 4.25 percent while the 15-year rates are near 3.375 percent.
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