FILE - In this June 19, 2019, file photo a worker carries shingles for a roof of a house under construction in a Brandon, Miss., neighborhood. On Friday, Aug. 16, the Commerce Department reports on U.S. home construction in July. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

US home construction fell 4% in July

August 16, 2019 - 8:34 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. housing starts fell 4.0% in July, driven by a decline in the construction of apartment buildings.

The Commerce Department says that housing starts slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units. So far this year, housing starts have declined 3.1%. While there was a slight 1.3% uptick in the construction of single-family homes, the gain was offset by a 17.2% drop in the apartment category.

The results suggest a lack of construction relative to demand from would-be home buyers, which may make it difficult for them to capitalize on the recent decline in mortgage rates.

Applications for housing permits increased 8.4% to an annual rate of 1.34 million. Apartment complexes drove the increase.

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