Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.226 million in December, 11.3% above the revised November rate of 1.102 million and 5.7% above the December 2015 rate.
Housing activity increased in three out of the four regions, led by strong jumps in the Midwest (31.2%) and the West (23.5%). Activity in the Northeast rose by 18.5% while the South saw a 1.4% decline.
New building permits decreased during the month, falling 0.2% to 1.210 million. However, permits were up 0.7% from the December 2015 rate.
Housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.123 million, down 7.9% from the revised November estimate, but 8.7% above the December 2015 rate.
Read the Census release.