Figures for November were revised to show housing starts rose at a slower 10.1 percent instead of a 10.5 percent increase initially estimated.
In December, starts of single-family houses decreased by 3.3 percent to 768 thousand and starts of buildings with five units or more edged down 1 percent to 381 thousand. Housing starts dropped in the Midwest (-12.4 percent), in the West (-7.6 percent) and in the South (-3.3 percent) while went up in the Northeast (+24.4 percent).
Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more dropped sharply by 11.4 percent to 492 thousand while single-family permits grew only by 1.8 percent to 740 thousand. The biggest decreases were recorded in the Midwest (-22.1 percent), the West (-17.9 percent) and the South (-4.4 percent) while authorizations in the Northeast jumped 62 percent.
Year-on-year, housing starts rose 6.4 percent while building permits went up 14.4 percent.
An estimated 1,111,200 housing units were started in 2015. This is 10.8 percent above the 2014 figure of 1,003,300.