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Housing starts, permits lowest since 1991

Decline in single-family sector enters 11th month in February

The rate of single-family housing starts and single-family building permits authorized dropped for the 11th consecutive month in February, falling to the lowest level since January 1991, the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of single-family housing starts was 707,000 in February, down about 40.5 percent compared to February 2007, and the rate of single-family building-permit authorizations fell about 41.9 percent compared to February 2007. This rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in construction activity. Total housing starts, including single-family starts and starts of structures with two or more units, fell to a rate of 1.07 million in February, down about 28.4 percent compared to February 2007. The February 2008 rate was the lowest rate of total housing starts since September 1991, when the rate was 1.02 million....