Although actual construction on new houses declined in the U.S. during the month of January, permits for new projects reached a 4 1/2-year high, according to Reuters. The rise in permits has increased hopes that the housing market will improve this year. However, the Commerce Department said starts at building sites for homes fell 8.5 percent last month to a 890,000-unit annual rate. This fall is attributed to a steep decline in the volatile multifamily unit category, which fell 24.1 percent. Information about the U.S. housing market is ever-changing and statements are often revised. Home building contributed to economic health last year for the first time since 2005.
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