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U.S. housing starts unexpectedly rise in December

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. homebuilding increased to a nine-month high in December amid a surge in multi-family housing projects, but soaring prices for materials after the government nearly doubled duties on imported Canadian softwood lumber could hamper activity.

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Topics: U.S.   

The report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday also showed the number of homes authorized for construction but not yet started surged to a record high last month, underscoring the challenges builders are facing from supply constraints. Rising mortgage rates could also hurt homebuilding this year.

Housing starts rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.702 million units last month, the highest level since March. Data for November was revised slightly lower to a rate of 1.678 million units from the previously reported 1.679 million units.

Housing starts totaled 1.595 million in 2021, up 15.6% from 2020.

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