2013 ends with dip in homebuilding, but year is best since 2007

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Home construction slowed in December but ended 2013 with the best showing since the housing bubble burst.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that builders broke ground last month at a seasonally annual rate of 999,000. That's 9.8 percent lower than November's pace of 1.12 million, which was the fastest in five years.

For the year, builders started 923,000 homes and apartments, up 18.3 percent from 2012. It was the fourth straight annual gain and the strongest since 2007, when 1.36 million homes were started.

The housing market has been recovering steadily over the past year, helping to boost economic growth and add jobs. But a rise in mortgage rates from record lows reached a year ago has started to weigh on those gains.

Still, economists said December's dip in activity followed a huge gain in November.

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