WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. builders started work in August on the most single-family homes in six months and requested permits to build even more in future months. The figures suggest housing remains are driver of economic growth despite higher mortgage rates.
The Commerce Department says builders increased construction of single-family homes 7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000. That was the most since February. And they sought 627,000 permits for them, a 3 percent increase from July and the most since May 2008.
Overall, builders broke ground on 891,000 houses and apartments last month, up from 883,000 the previous month. The gain in single-family homes was offset by a decline in volatile demand for apartments.
Permits fell to 918,000 from 954,000 in July, also because of a decline in apartments.