money.cnn.com - Permits are a sign of builders' confidence in the market. It's also less affected by weather than housing starts. Last month, builders filed for permits at an annual rate of 925,000, up about 2% from December and up 35% from a year earlier. It was the best month for permits since June 2008.
Meanwhile, the pace of housing starts slowed to an annual rate of 890,000 in January, down 9% from December, when there was a spike related to repairs from Superstorm Sandy. But even the lower pace of starts was up 24% from a year ago.
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