Single-family housing production made solid gains at the end of last year.

The number of nationwide housing starts rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.089 million units in December, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. For the year, overall housing starts topped 1 million units.

“With overall starts ending the year above 1 million units for the first time since 2007, we expect this momentum to carry forward in 2015,” says NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “A growing labor market and strengthening economy will spur steady growth in single-family housing production in the year ahead.”

Single-family housing production rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 728,000 in December while multifamily starts edged 1 percent lower to 361,000 units.

Combined single-family and multifamily production was up in three out of four regions in December. The Northeast posted a 12.5 percent gain, the South was up 8.8 percent and the West registered a 5.8 percent increase. The Midwest posted a 13.3 percent decline.

Overall permit issuance was down 1.9 percent in December to a rate of 1.032 million. Single-family permits rose by 4.5 percent to 667,000 units while multifamily permits fell 12 percent to a rate of 365,000 units.

Regionally, permits were mixed in December. The Midwest and South posted gains of 6.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, while the Northeast and West dropped 16.8 percent and 20.5 percent.

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