WASHINGTON - Builders broke ground on fewer homes in July, pulled down by a significant drop in single-family home construction.
The Commerce Department says builders began work on a seasonally
adjusted 604,000 homes last month, a 1.5 percent decrease from June. That's half the 1.2 million homes per year that economists say must be built to sustain a healthy housing market.
Single-family home construction fell 5 percent. Apartment construction rose more than 6 percent. Building permits, a gauge of future construction, declined 3.2 percent.
Though new homes represent just 20 percent of the overall home market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built
creates an average of three jobs for a year and about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
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