Housing starts rose in December making 2002 the best year for housing construction since 1986. — 
Nationally, construction of new homes and apartments rose by 5 percent in December making 2002 the best year for housing construction since 1986. The commerce department said that builders broke ground on 1.84 million new home homes and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate compared to a 1.75 million unit pace in November, when activity had risen by 5.2 percent from the October level.

By region, the Northeast led the country in housing construction with an 18.2 percent jump in activity; while the West was up 9.7 percent and the Midwest saw a 4 percent increase in December.

This continual growth is attributed to the lowest mortgage rates since the early 1960’s. Today’s 30-year mortgage rate, according to Wells Fargo, is 5.875 percent. Analysts believe that rates will move slightly higher this year. In turn, they are predicting that sales of both new and existing homes, which are expected to set records for 2002, will dip slightly in 2003.

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