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Home construction spending hits five-year low

Total spending rate falls to $1.12 trillion in March

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Residential construction spending hit its lowest level in five years in March, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of residential construction spending dropped 19.7 percent compared to the same month last year, to $451.4 billion. This rate is a projection of a monthly spending total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for typical seasonal fluctuations in construction activity. The March spending rate on private residential construction projects was the lowest since it dropped to about $442.7 billion in March 2003. This rate had dropped for 23 consecutive months, from February 2006 to January 2008, before rising slightly in February 2008. The March 2008 rate was about 36.1 percent below the record peak of $696 billion in February 2006. The total adjusted annual rate of construction spending, including residential and nonresidential projects, fell about 3.4 percent year-over-year in March to $1.12 trillion. During the first three...