June 1, 2011 / 2:09 PM / 8 years ago

Renovations lift April construction spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Construction spending rose in April to record the largest gain in six months, likely boosted by home renovations, but the prior month’s outlays were revised down sharply, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Construction spending increased 0.4 percent to an annual rate of $764.98 billion, the Commerce Department said. March’s construction spending was revised to show a modest 0.1 percent increase rather than the previously reported 1.4 percent advance.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending rising 0.3 percent in April.

Overall construction spending dropped 9.3 percent from a year ago.

Private construction spending rose 1.7 percent as investment in residential projects climbed 3.1 percent to $232.13 billion, most likely because of an increase in renovations as housing starts fell sharply in April.

Spending on new single family home construction fell 1.0 percent, while outlays on multifamily homes eased 0.1 percent in April.

Private nonresidential outlays rose 0.5 percent. Spending on public construction fell 1.9 percent in April, with outlays on federal projects dropping 2.0 percent. Construction spending by state and local governments declined 1.9 percent.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Andrea Ricci

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