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Home Construction Falls 8.5 Percent

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Housing starts fell 8.5 percent in January, a surprising drop after they jumped 15.7 percent during the previous month, according to the Commerce Department.

Though the housing market has recovered since 2008, privately-owned housing starts amounted to 890,000 last month, below the revised estimate of 973,000 private housing starts in December.  The current level is still 23.6 percent above that of January 2012.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics, said the level was still up significantly from 851,000 in November.

“The pattern is consistent with a continued uptrend, with December exaggerated by milder-than-usual winter weather,” Sullivan said in a note.

“We suspect the index is just pausing, but that remains to be seen,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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