WASHINGTON — U.S home construction surged in April to its highest pace in six months. But almost all that increase came from the volatile apartment sector, a sign that Americans are still struggling financially to buy single-family homes.
The Commerce Department says builders started work on 1.07 million homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in April, up 13.2 percent from 947,000 in March. The gains were driven by a 42.9 percent jump in the construction of apartments and condominiums. The rate of building single-family homes rose just 0.8 percent.
Most of the gains in multi-family housing were concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, regions that are bouncing back from the harsh winter.
Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, rose 8 percent to an annual rate of 1.08 million.