WASHINGTON – New home construction in the US fell 2.6 percent last month to an annualized rate of 1.17 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
The drop in April halted the strong performance by the construction industry since January, and the pace was only 0.70 percent higher than in April 2016.
Economists had forecast a rate of roughly 1.25 million units, compared with the adjusted figure of 1.20 million units in March.
The number of permits for new residential construction decreased by 2.5 percent last month to an annualized rate of 1.23 million units, compared to 1.26 million units in March, and was 5.7 percent above the level a year earlier.
Robust single-family home construction is an indicator of a positive economic outlook for the middle class since it reflects household investment in real estate.