Construction spending rose 0.9%, at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $855 billion for December, according to a Commerce Department report [link opens in PDF] released today . After a slim 0.1% month-over-month gain in November , these newest numbers paint a more positive picture for the housing market recovery. Market analysts had predicted a 0.8% increase for December .

Source: census.gov 

For 2012 overall, construction spending increased to $850 billion, 9.2% above 2011's spending . Private construction rose 16.1% for the year , while public spending lagged 2.7% behind 2011's expenditures . Of all subcategories, new multi-family residential construction spending increased the most (+44.4 %), while public safety spending plummeted 45.2%. 

This report comes four days after the National Association of Realtors released its Pending Home Sales Index for December, citing tight housing supply as the primary reason for slumping sales.