Homebuilders picked up the pace on new projects in December, lending weight to projections of further growth in 2015. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that builders broke ground on new residences at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units in December, an increase of 4.4 percent month-over-month.
All of December's increase in homebuilding came on the single-family side, which saw a 7.2 percent month-over-month increase to a rate of 728,000 units. Builders began work on multifamily buildings at an annual rate of 361,000, down slightly from November.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly mortgage applications index climbed a seasonally adjusted 14.2 percent on a weekly basis for the week ending January 16th, the group said Wednesday. The increase, which followed a 49 percent jump the week prior, put applications at their highest level since June 2013. Leading the weekly improvement was a 22 percent increase in refinance applications, which MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said was largely due to a drop in mortgage rates to their lowest level measure since May 2013.