US home construction surges 22.6%, third straight increase

WASHINGTON — Construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month as homebuilders bounced back from a lull induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commerce Department reported today that new homes were started an annual pace of nearly 1.5 million in July, highest since February and well above what economists were expecting. Housing starts have now risen three straight months after plunging in March and April as the virus outbreak paralyzed the American economy. Last month’s pace of construction was 23.4% above July 2019’s.

Construction of single-family homes was up 8.2% from June. Construction of apartments and condominiums soared 56.7%. Housing construction overall jumped 35.3% in the Northeast, 5.8% in the Midwest, 33.2% in the South and 5.8% in the West.