WASHINGTON — Housing starts fell 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000 in November from a revised estimate of 888,000 in October, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

October starts were originally reported as 894,000.

November building permits rose 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 899,000 from the previous month's rate of 868,000, originally reported as 866,000. That figure represents the largest number of permits since an estimated 921,000 were issued in July 2008.

November housing starts fell short of the 870,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, but were 21.6% above the November 2011 rate of 708,000.

Building permits far exceeded the economists' median projection of 875,000, and were 26.8% above the estimate of 709,000 a year ago.

Housing starts slipped 5.2% in the Northeast and plummeted 19.2% in the West, but rose 2.9% in the South and 3.3% in the Midwest.

Building permits increased 8.1% in the Midwest, 2.9% in the South, and 5.9% in the West. Permits tapered off in the Northeast, falling 6.2%.

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