Industry News

Real estate construction starts slip

Rising mortgage rates may signal 'peak' in building

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The value of new construction starts in October, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $668.5 billion, was essentially unchanged from September's revised amount, McGraw-Hill Construction said today. October showed a moderate decline for the housing sector, offset by gains for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities), according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos. Through the first 10 months of 2005, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $550.5 billion, a 9 percent increase relative to the previous year, the company said. With mortgage rates now edging up, "there's the growing sense that single-family housing may be rounding a peak," said Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "The recent strength for total construction has been helped by a healthier pace for nonresidential building, combined with what is still an exceptionally strong amount of...