The most recent new residential construction estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show 2014 ending on an upswing. In fact, single-family housing starts – which refer to the number of homes that broke ground during the month – rose 7.2 percent in December and totals for the year were 8.8 percent above the 2013 figure. An estimated 1,005,800 housing units were started in 2014. Building permits – which are an indicator of future new home construction – also ended the year on a positive note. Single-family authorizations were up 4.5 percent from November’s figure and the total number of building permits authorized in 2014 came in 4.2 percent above the year before. The gains are an encouraging sign for the housing market and the economy as a whole, as new residential construction had been lagging behind the many economic indicators showing improvement last year. More here.