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Housing starts fall again

Statistics released today by the U.S. Commerce Department showed that housing starts dropped 10 percent last month, to an annual rate of 1.19 million, compared to 1.33 million in August.

This was the slowest pace of new residential building in 14 years, since March 1993, when 1.08 million units were under construction in the United States.

Aslowdown in condo and apartment projects contributed greatly to the declines, with multi-family housing production posting a 34.3 percent decrease. Single-family housing registered a 1.7 percent drop.

Building permits were also weak, showing a 7.3 percent decrease, from 1.33 million units in August to 1.22 million in September. Single-family permits were down 7.1 percent, and multi-family permit activity contracted by 7.7 percent.

Regionally, the Northeast performed well in housing starts, posting a 45.4 percent month-over-month gain in September. But the Midwest, South and West registered declines of 28.4 percent, 11.7 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

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