Single-family housing starts jumped 3.3% in November to a new monthly record, making it almost a sure bet that builders will top an annual construction record that dates back to 1977.The Census Bureau reported that single-family starts increased from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.64 million in October to 1.67 million in November. The annual record for single-family starts -- 1.45 million units -- was set in 1977. "We are pretty sure we will beat it," said Michael Carliner, an economist with the National Association of Home Builders. Normally, builders slow down in November and December and take some time off. "But this year they have been running flat out," the NAHB economist said. "They are using it to catch up." He said he expects the next housing start report to show a decline for December. Next year, the NAHB is forecasting another good year, but not a record year. "We think it is unlikely to exceed this year," Mr. Carliner said.

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