Construction spending in April rose 2.7% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $869.1 billion but remained 10.5% below April, 2009, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The increase was driven in part by a 4.4% sequential rise in residential construction spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $263 billion.That pace was 4.1% ahead of the same month last year.

During the first 4 months of 2010, construction spending amounted to $249.6 billion, 13.2% below the $287.5 billion for the same period in 2009.

Private construction was up 2.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of$565.8 billion, 2.9 percent (±1.1%) above the revised March estimate of $549.7 billion. Nonresidential construction rose 1.7% to a rate of $302.7 billion in April.

Public construction was up 2.4% to $303.3 billion, driven partly by a 3.6% hike in highway construction to rate of $84.3 billion and a 0.4% rise in educational construction to $74.7 billion.