US home construction rose last month, led by apartments

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. developers broke ground on more homes last month, but the increase occurred entirely in apartments. The construction of new single-family houses fell.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts rose 3.2 percent in November from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.26 million. That is 3.6 percent below a year ago. Single-family starts dropped 4.6 percent in November and are down 13.1 percent from a year earlier.

Some of the data have been distorted by extreme weather. Home-building jumped 15.1 percent last month in the South in the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. And home construction fell 14.2 percent in the West, possibly because of wildfires in California.

Still, rising mortgage rates have dragged down home sales in the past year, discouraging many builders.