Housing starts rose in December as mortgage rates remained elevated

The number of housing starts ticked up in December despite pressure from high mortgage rates, a bit of good news for the economy.

Housing starts, the change in the number of new residential buildings that began construction, rose 1.9% from November to this past month, according to a Thursday report from the Census Bureau.

They are at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.495 million. From December 2022, they increased by 6.1%.

For permits to build, which are seen as a proxy for future construction, the rate of new permits last month was 11.7% below the rate in December last year.

As of Wednesday, the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.88%, according to Mortgage News Daily, which tracks daily changes in rates. That is down from a recent peak of above 8% but is still considerably higher than in the years before the pandemic.

The housing market
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