Newly-built homes and schools boosted U.S. construction spending in October to the highest level since May. What fueled the gains in October was a 1.8% increase in spending on single-family houses. A similar boost in building schools led to a 2.3% increase in government construction spending. Over the past 12 months, private residential construction spending has risen just 1.9% to an annualized rate of $353.8 billion. That lags total construction spending, which has climbed 3.3% from a year ago to $971 billion. According to a Commerce Department report, new-home sales have risen only 1%. The median price of a new home has risen 15.4% in the past 12 months to $305,000, a pace that's more than double the average annual price increase for sales of existing homes tracked by the National Association of Realtors.