US housing starts rise modestly to start new year

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Construction of single-family homes cooled off slightly in January after surging in the final month last year. But a rebound in volatile apartment construction kept builders working.

The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000 homes in January.

Construction began on 508,000 single-family homes last month, a 1 percent drop from December and the first decline in four months. Still, December single-family homes were revised up strongly to show builders started 513,000 homes. That’s up from the initial estimate of 470,000, a difference of 9 percent.

Apartment building, a more volatile category, jumped 14.4 percent. Building permits, a gauge of future construction, rose 0.7 percent.