US house building recovery loses momentum in December

Cold weather saw US house building activity slip in December, with new construction of homes down 9.8 per cent to 999,000 annualised.

The number's above the expected fall to 985,000, but the extremely wintery weather much of the US has seen over the last few weeks still signifcantly dragged down starts from November's strong numbers (1.091m).

Single unit housing start dropped to 610,00 in December - the lowest they've been since July of last year.

But property economist Paul Diggle of Capital Economics says that the fall is nothing to worry about. The research group think the outlook for the year still looks very good.

Some 928,000 homes were started in 2013 as a whole - an 18.5 per cent increase from 2012. Start numbers were at their highest since 2007.

Building permits in the US came in at 986,000 in December. They were expected higher at 1.014m, after the (revised higher) November figure of 1.017m.