Housing Starts Surge in December

Washington, DC, Jan. 17, 2013 -- Builders in December broke ground on homes at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008, according to the Commerce Department.

Permits for construction also edged up to 903,000.

In addition, 2012 finished as the best year for residential construction since the housing crisis began.

The Commerce Department said that builders started houses and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1% higher than November's annual rate and nearly double the recession low of April 2009.

For the year, builders started work on 780,000 homes, an increase of 28.1% from the 608,800 homes started in 2011.