Con­struc­tion spend­ing stays flat in May

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. con­struc­tion spend­ing was flat in May with home­build­ing fall­ing again, even as buy­ers face climb­ing prices and a short­age of avail­able prop­er­ties on the mar­ket.

The Com­merce De­part­ment re­ported on Mon­day no in­crease in con­struc­tion spend­ing in May, which fol­lows a re­port two weeks ago show­ing that hous­ing starts fell for the third straight month.

Econ­o­mists have been ex­pect­ing hous­ing con­struc­tion to play a role in sup­port­ing over­all eco­nomic growth in 2017 as de­mand for homes rises amid low un­em­ploy­ment and ris­ing in­comes. How­ever, many buy­ers have been frus­trated by lim­ited in­ven­tory and ris­ing prices.

Pri­vate res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion fell 0.6 per­cent in May, the first de­cline in that cat­e­gory since April 2016 and its big­gest de­cline since a 0.6 per­cent drop in July 2014. Non­res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion de­clined 0.7 per­cent, the fifth straight monthly de­cline for the cat­e­gory.

Over­all con­struc­tion spend­ing was re­ported at a sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rate of $1.23 tril­lion, the same as last month’s re­vised fig­ure.

The flat May num­ber fol­lows April’s de­cline of 0.7 per­cent, which was re­vised from an orig­i­nally re­ported drop of 1.7 per­cent. An­a­lysts last month said they thought April’s dis­mal num­ber was an anom­aly and had ex­pected a mod­est re­bound in May.

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