Single-family housing starts fell by 0.6% in December, but 2003 will still go down in the record book by topping a construction record that dates back to 1977.The Census Bureau reported that single-family starts fell from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.67 million in November to 1.66 million in December. For the year, builders broke ground on 1.50 million new homes, topping the previous record of 1.45 million set 26 years ago. A month ago, National Association of Home Builders forecasters said they expected 2004 to be another good year, but unlikely to exceed 2003. However, NAHB economists say they now believe that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low until November and that it could be another record year.

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