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US home construction up 3.9% in August after July drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction increases 3.9% in August with the strength coming in apartment construction.

The August increase left home construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.62 million units, 17.4% above the pace of a year ago, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Housing starts had fallen 6.2% in July.

The August strength came in a 21.6% jump in construction of apartment units which offset a 2.8% fall in construction of single-family homes.

Applications for building permits, seen as a good sign of future activity, rose 6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.73 million units.

A survey of builder sentiment done by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo showed sentiment inched up one point to a reading of 76 in September. Lower lumber prices and strong demand for housing helped to offset problems builders are having with supply chain issues and ongoing labor shortages.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press