U.S. home construction increases slightly

New home construction in the U.S. rose 0.3 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000, according to The New York Times.

The increase reportedly is a result of a surge in single-family home construction, which increased 4.4 percent in September; single-family homes are about 80 percent of the market. Condominium and apartment construction fell by nearly 10 percent.

The number of permits issued to build new homes fell 5.6 percent, which was attributed to a 20 percent drop in permits issued for condominiums and apartments. Permits for single-family homes increased 0.5 percent.

Despite the lowest mortgage rates in 50 years, the housing market struggled through its worst summer in more than a decade as high unemployment, tight credit and slow job growth deterred people from buying homes. Each new home built creates an average three jobs per year, so weak home sales result in fewer construction industry jobs.

Although builders still are pessimistic about the housing market, the National Association of Home Builders' monthly index of builders' sentiment increased to 16 points in October, which was the first increase in five months.

Date : 10/19/2010