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Housing starts surged 84.6 percent in the Northeast

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A contractor adjusts a floor joist while working on a home under construction at the Toll Brothers Inc. Bowes Creek Country Club community in Elgin, Ill. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON (AP) — US home construction rose in April, led by an uptick in single-family homes.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that home-building rose 5.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.24 million, but housing starts fell 2.5 percent from a year earlier, suggesting that would-be home buyers are facing a shortage of new houses.

Construction of single-family homes increased 6.2 percent to 854,000 but was down 4.3 percent from a year earlier. Building of apartments and condominiums rose 2.3 percent to 359,000 and was up 1.4 percent from April 2018.

From March to April, housing starts surged 84.6 percent in the Northeast and 42 percent in the Midwest. Analysts at Contingent Macro Advisors noted that both regions ‘‘saw a rebound following harsh winter weather.’’ But construction fell 5.7 percent in the South and 5.5 percent in the West. The regional construction numbers can jump around from month to month.

Housing permits, an indicator of future activity, rose 0.6 percent to 1.3 million, the first uptick since December. Permits were down 5 percent from April 2018. Single-family home permits skidded 4.2 percent in April from March and were down 9.4 percent from a year earlier.

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