HOUSTON — The pace of U.S home construction slipped in May as buyers face higher mortgage rates.
Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month.
Home construction has struggled to gain much traction this year, limiting its contribution to broader economic growth. Many potential buyers face higher mortgage rates than at this time last year, while builders are selling fewer new homes but charging more for them.
This has reduced the number of possible buyers and the number of construction jobs by 1.49 million fewer than at the start of the Recession in December 2007, a loss of about 20 percent.
In May, construction declined in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Only the South experienced greater building activity in May.
Housing starts have increased 9.4 percent during the past 12 months but apartments account for most of the gains, suggesting that more Americans will be renting instead of owning homes.