U.S. homebuilders presumably ended 2012 on a high note, with data showing housing starts jumping 12.1% from November to December, the Department of Commerce said.

Furthermore, housing starts – a measure of new construction activity – grew 36.9% from the previous December, backing up widespread reports of blooming homebuilder confidence.

In December alone, the U.S. recorded 954,000 new home starts, up from 851,000 starts in November and a significant increase from 697,000 starts a year earlier. Economists with MarketWatch noted December housing starts reached a level not seen since June 2008.

Completed construction also grew in December. The nation saw 686,000 homes completed last month, up from 675,000 units in November and a rise of 13.2% when compared to the 606,000 properties completed in December 2011.

The Commerce Department said the number of housing units authorized by building permits edged up 0.3% to 903,000 units in December. This compares to 900,000 units in November and 701,000 permits a year earlier.

Single-family permit authorizations grew 1.8% to 578,000 filings in December 2012, up from 568,000 in November. This figure also is up significantly when considering there were only 301,000 single-family permit authorizations a year earlier.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com