Published: Aug 17, 2010 9:31 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 17, 2010 6:31 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Construction of new homes edged up slightly in July but applications for building permits tumbled to the lowest point in 14 months, a sign of continued stress in housing.

The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments rose 1.7 percent in July but applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, fell 3.1 percent.

A rebound in housing is considered critical for a sustained economic recovery. But builders continue to struggle with weak
demand for new homes caused by high unemployment and a glut of foreclosed homes on the market.