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US home construction jumps 6.3% in June

Lumber is piled at a housing construction site on June 24 in Middleton, Massachusetts. The rate of home construction in the U.S. rose by a strong 6.3% in June, another big swing in what has been an up-and-down year so far. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Lumber is piled at a housing construction site on June 24 in Middleton, Massachusetts. The rate of home construction in the U.S. rose by a strong 6.3% in June, another big swing in what has been an up-and-down year so far. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

By MATT OTT
AP Business Writer

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The rate of home construction in the U.S. jumped 6.3% in June, another big swing in an already 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 troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic have hamstrung builders, who have been dealing with 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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