Jan. 18, 2007 – Housing starts rose 4.5 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.642 million, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Housing permits, which forecast the strength of the residential construction sector in the months ahead, were up by 5.5 percent to 1.596 million, the report said.

An estimated 1,833,5000 building permits were issued last year, a 14.9 percent decline from 2005, the report said.

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