US construction spend boosted by renovations

Spending on home renovations caused an 0.4 per cent rise in US construction spending in April in the largest gain seen in six months, data out today has shown.

Construction spending rose to an annual rate of $765bn (£464bn), the Commerce Department said – above economists’ expectations of an 0.3 per cent increase.

However, other indicators weakened and construction spending in March was revised dramatically downward to a modest 0.1 per cent increase from a previously-reported 1.4 per cent jump.

Overall construction spending dropped 9.3 per cent from a year ago.

Private construction spending rose 1.7 per cent in April as investment in residential projects climbed 3.1 per cent to $232.1bn, despite a sharp fall in new housing starts, as people upgraded their homes.

Construction spending on new single-family homes fell one per cent and outlays on multifamily homes eased by 0.1 per cent in April.

Spending on public construction fell 1.9 per cent in April too, with outlays on federal projects dropping two per cent. Construction spending by state and local governments declined 1.9 per cent.