Summary Box: Home building weak in 2011

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2012 1:11 PM
Summary Box: Home building weak in 2011

POOR YEAR: December capped a third straight year of depressed home building and the worst on record for single-family construction. Builders started just 606,900 homes, about half the number that economists equate with healthy markets.

WEAKER MONTH: Builders broke ground last month on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000 homes, the Commerce Department said Thursday. A third straight increase in single-family home building was offset by a drop in volatile apartment construction.

OUTLOOK: Modest improvement at the end of the year lifted hopes for an eventual recovery. But the housing market still appears years away from full health.