WASHINGTON - U.S home construction rose in March to the highest level in three months as builders resumed work at the end of a frigid winter. But applications for building permits slid, clouding the outlook for future construction.
The Commerce Department says builders started work on 946,000 homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in March, up 2.8 percent from 920,000 in February. Construction of single-family homes rose 6 percent, more than offsetting a 3.1 percent drop in the construction of apartments, condominiums and town houses.
As the weather moderated, construction rose 30.7 percent in the Northeast and 65.5 percent in the Midwest. But it fell in the South and West.
Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, fell 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 990,000.