Housing starts rose in December the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Housing permits also jumped the most in four years. Sales of new homes have improved in recent months as builders have piled on incentives to move product. The Chicago Tribune reported that even with the gains reported for December, housing starts dropped 13% in 2006, the biggest yearly decline since 1991. Many suggest that the current data is an indication that the market has stabilized.

That did not save mega builder Lenar from reporting a 200 million dollar loss for the 4th quarter. In order to reverse the trend they plan on cutting expenses and reducing home building by 20%.

Inman news reported that “President and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Miller said uncertain market conditions "make it difficult to provide a 2007 earnings goal" but that if unemployment and interest rates stay low -- and the market for new homes "demonstrates traditional, seasonal improvement" -- Lennar will meet or exceed last year's earnings.