- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home construction plunged last month to the lowest level since October as the economy remained weak and demand for housing plummeted.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that construction of new homes and apartments in June fell 5 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000. May’s figure was revised downward to 578,000. The results were driven by a more than 20 percent decline in the volatile condominium and apartment market.

However, building permit applications, a sign of future activity, rose 2.1 percent from a month earlier to an annual rate of 586,000

The slumping job market and competition from foreclosed properties have forced builders to limit construction, especially after tax credits that spurred sales expired at the end of April.