Oct 20, 2009 1:13 PM by Associated Press

September housing construction rises 0.5 percent

Construction of new homes edged up slightly in September, helped by a rebound in single-family construction. However, in a worrisome sign for the future, applications for building permits fell by the largest amount in five months.

The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments rose 0.5 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units. That was a weaker showing than the 610,000-building rate that economists had been forecasting. New applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, fell by 1.2 percent in September, the biggest decline since a 2.5 percent drop last April.

Meanwhile, inflation remains in check as lower energy costs drove wholesale prices down unexpectedly in September. The Labor Department says the Producer Price index fell 0.6 percent last month. The drop comes after a steep rise in August.


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