Construction of new homes dipped unexpectedly last month as bad weather hit much of the country. Applications for future projects, however, soared in a sign the industry is ramping up after a debilitating bust.
The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments fell 4 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 557,000 from an upwardly revised 580,000 in November. The results were lower than the 580,000 forecast by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Applications for new building permits, a gauge of future activity, rose 11 percent to an annual rate of 653,000, a far stronger showing than economists had predicted and the highest level of activity since October 2008.
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