18 January 2001, 16:37  US Housing Starts-OVERVIEW

--US December housing starts +0.3% to 1.575-mln-unit rate
--US December housing permits -6.6% to 1.493 mln
--US December housing permits drop largest since January 1995
--US November housing starts revised to +2.7% from +2.2%
--US November starts rate revised to 1.570 mln from 1.562 mln
--US December single-family starts +6.0%; Nov revised to +0.6% from -0.4%
--US December multi-family starts -20.8%; Nov revised to +11.4% from
+12.9% --US housing starts -4.4% to 1.594 mln in 2000 vs 1999
By BridgeNews
Washington--Jan. 18--U.S. housing starts rose for the second consecutive month, climbing 0.3% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.575 million units. The December change was above the consensus call for a 1.550-million pace, but the increase was a sharp slowdown from November's 2.7% jump. Building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, dropped 6.6% in December to a pace of 1.493 million, below the 1.518 million forecast.
* * * The 6.6% drop in permits was the steepest since January 1995, when they plummeted 8.2%, a Commerce Department official said.
For 2000 as a whole, housing starts totaled 1.594 million units, down 4.4% from 1999, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the first drop since 1997 and the slowest pace since that year's 1.474 million, the official said.
In November, housing starts rose to a revised 1.570 million units, after being initially reported up 2.2% to an annual rate of 1.562 million.

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