Ending the year big, Housing Starts shot up 16.9% in December, to a 1.608 million annual rate, their highest level in 13 years! Gains were seen in all major regions, and starts are now up 40.8% from a year ago.

Building Permits, at a post-recession high in November, took a break in December, down 3.9%. But permits are still at a 1.416 million annual rate, near the 1.5 million needed to take care of population growth and teardowns.

And the future looks bright. Fannie Mae’s latest forecast predicts that just the single-family part of the Housing Starts number should reach 975,000 units this year–the highest level since 2007!