US home construction jumps 6.3% in June


Joe Dell works on a staircase at a home in Traverse City, Mich., being built by Endura Performance Homes on June 19, 2021. Potential homeowners have a long and winding road to follow before they can relax on the couch in a new home in northwest Lower Michigan. They need to accumulate plenty of cash, choose a buildable lot, select a contractor who can find enough skilled trades workers to assemble a house, wait months or years for construction to begin — and then rethink their budget to account for increases in materials and labor costs. (Mike Krebs/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Home construction in the U.S. jumped 6.3% in June, another big swing in a volatile year.

The rise in June put home construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.64 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Home construction starts rose 12.6% in the West and 9.7% in the South, offsetting high single-digit declines in the Northeast and Midwest.

Applications for building permits, which are used to forecast future activity, declined 5.1% in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.59 million units. Applications for permits declined in all four regions. Those declines could validate some economists’ predictions that the surge in home building and sales over the past year may begin to slow, especially for single-family homes.

Supply chain problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic have hamstrung builders, who have faced material shortages and inflated prices for lumber, though the latter has moderated somewhat, at least at the wholesale level.

Month-to-month, homebuilding activity has been on a wild ride so far this year, with several double-digit swings in either direction. But housing remains one of the stronger segments of the economy, with buyers far outnumbering sellers.

The 6.3% overall increase in home construction in June matched the 6.3% increase in single-family home construction which rose to a rate of 1.16 million units. A 6.8% rise in construction of apartments pushed that category to a rate of 474,000 units.

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