Real Estate

Construction Spending Rises Again In April As Lumber Costs Climb

Residential construction spending continued to rise throughout the U.S. in the month of April, building further on a red-hot March.

Private spending on new single-family homes rose 1.3 percent in April over the previous month, while multifamily developers upped their outlays on new properties by 1.9 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In all, private residential construction spending in April reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $729 billion as new structures came online and homeowners made improvements to existing properties, the report said.

These spending increases come as builders are seeing rising demand for new homes and dealing with the soaring costs of construction materials.

Lumber was 80 percent costlier in April than it had been right before the earliest pandemic-related shutdowns and closures last year, according to the Producer Price Index tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of April, lumber price growth had yet to level off from its steep upward trajectory in recent months.

Even as homebuilders in April spent more on new construction and maintained their recent pace of completed builds, they scaled back the number of new projects they were starting.

Single-family starts in April were down more than 13 percent from their levels in March, according to a separate census report from last month.

Across the U.S., the 1.3 percent rise in new single-family construction spending observed in April was less pronounced than the 2.3 percent month-over-month growth reported in March.

The gains in residential construction outpaced non-residential construction spending, which slowed for both private and public projects during the month of April.

Email Daniel Houston

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