WASHINGTON – Spending on residential housing rose in May to the highest level in 4½ years, helping to send overall construction spending higher despite a big drop in nonresidential activity.
The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 0.5 percent in May compared with April when spending was up 0.1 percent. Private residential construction rose 1.2 percent to the highest level since October 2008, further evidence of a rebound in housing.
Spending on nonresidential projects fell 1.4 percent, dragged lower by declines in office building and the category that includes shopping centers.
Public construction rose 1.8 percent with state and local activity up 1.6 percent and federal spending rising 0.6 percent.
Total construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $874.9 billion in May, 5.4 percent higher than a year ago.