According to new residential construction estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, single-family housing starts rose 4.4 percent in December. Building permits for single-family homes were also up for the month, rising 1.8 percent. Despite the gains, total housing starts fell 4.1 percent due to a drop in construction of multifamily homes. Year-over-year, housing starts were 24.9 percent above December 2010 and building permits were 7.8 percent above the previous year’s levels. There were an estimated 583,900 housing units completed in 2011. More here.