WASHINGTON - A surge of construction in the Midwest drove U.S. housing starts up 5 percent in May from the prior month.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million, the strongest pace since July 2007. All of May's construction gains came from a 62 percent jump in the Midwest, while building slumped in the Northeast, South and West. Home construction can be volatile on a monthly basis, so May's gains may be a blip rather than a trend.
The solid job market has helped to boost demand for new homes. Housing starts have risen 11 percent so far this year, with gains for both single family houses and apartment buildings. Permits to build tumbled 4.6 percent in May, but permits are running 8.9 percent higher year-to-date.
Still, builders are concerned that tariffs announced by President Donald Trump that could affect steel, aluminum and lumber would make construction much more expensive, possibly limiting how many properties are built.
The risk of trade war with Canada caused builder confidence to sink this month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday fell two points to 68 this month. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.
The home builder association said higher lumber prices have increased the price of a new single-family home by $9,000 since January 2017.
The strong winds we saw this week left a mess in some parts of the county - including at a very special horse-riding facility in Ramona.
Five nurses from Scripps Health, who are part of a medical response team, are traveling to Northern California to care for the people affected by the Camp Fire.
A transient accused of repeatedly burglarizing the office of a South Bay community group before torching the premises last week pleaded not guilty Thursday to a slew of charges including arson of a structure, grand theft and burglary.
A 52-year-old professional photographer was arrested this week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl during a modeling session in Carlsbad, authorities reported Thursday.
A man who pushed a 93-year-old woman through a screen door and onto a concrete deck in Oceanside -- leading to her death 11 days later -- was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder and elder abuse causing great bodily injury.
Fire crews hoped to capitalize on diminishing winds Thursday as they worked to expand containment lines around the deadly Woolsey Fire, while more residents were allowed to return to their homes and a firefighter was recovering in a hospital after being struck by a car.
Confirmed flu cases in San Diego County are well behind the rate of confirmed cases during last year's flu season, according to county health officials.
A 92-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of fatally shooting his 51-year-old son inside their Old Town home.