The Commerce Department announced recently that housing starts rose 2.4 percent in November.

Permits, an indication of builder confidence in future home building prospects, fell 2.7 percent to 1.725 million units last month.

Ground breaking for new homes climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.697 million units last month from an upwardly revised 1.657 million rate in October. The increase was ahead of the expectations of some analysts.