Overall construction spending in December was flat compared to November, rising a scant 0.1 percent.  Private spending on residential construction, primarily single-family housing, was the sole bright spot in Monday's U.S. Census Bureau report.

Total public and private construction spending in December was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $930.49 billion compared to $929.93 billion in November.  This was a 5.3 percent improvement over the annual rate of $883.55 in December 2012.   Of that spending, $357.42 billion was residential spending, an increase of 2.4 percent from November and 17.5 percent from a year earlier.

Private residential construction spending was at an annual rate of $352.61 billion, over half of all of the $663.93 billion of private construction put in place in December on an annualized basis.  Of that residential spending, $181.74 billion was for new single-family and $35.62 billion was new multi-family construction.   Single-family construction was up 3.4 percent from $175.73 billion in November and 21.6 percent higher than the $149.40 billion spent in December 2013.  Multifamily construction spending improved 0.5 percent on a monthly basis from $35.43 billion and 27.3 percent from $27.97 billion a year earlier.

Publicly funded construction continued to decline with total expenditures of $266.56 billion on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, down 2.3 percent month over month and 0.7 percent annually.  The December rates of spending fell further for the residential construction category than any of the Census categories, down 11.5 percent from November, and dropped 20.2 percent on an annual basis.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis residential spending during the month was $25.75 billion compared to 28.37 billion in November and $21.57 billion a year earlier.  All but $385 million of the December residential spending came from the private sector.