US home construction slumped in August; big dip in the South

IndustriesAssociated Press

Southern homebuilders pulled back on construction in August, causing the pace of housing starts nationwide to fall to their lowest level in three months.

The Commerce Department says ground breakings dropped 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.4 million from 1.21 million in July. That pace of construction was the lowest since May.

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Starts plummeted 14.8 percent in the South, likely reflecting the monthly volatility of the government report. Building activity increased in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

Housing starts have risen 6.1 percent so far this year, fueled by greater demand amid an improving job market and low mortgage rates.

Still, additional construction might be limited as permitting activity has slipped. Authorized permits fell 0.4 percent in August to an annual rate of 1.14 million.