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Builders sweating sunset of tax credit

Single-family starts end streak, fall 3% in August

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A nationwide survey of homebuilders reveals an increase in sales but reduced expectations for the next six months, reflecting concerns about a potential expiration of the first-time homebuyer tax credit and competition from foreclosures, problems with appraisals, and lack of job creation.The survey of 269 builders, by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, found sales in 1,855 housing developments in 86 metropolitan statistical areas increased to two per month, up from 1.4 in last month's survey. Falling cancellation rates were a factor, with most respondents (61 percent) reporting cancellations at between 1 percent and 15 percent.On a scale of one to 10, builders rate current sales of new single-family detached homes at 3.5, unchanged from last month but up from a low of 0.5 in December.Asked about their expectations for new-home sales over the next six months, however, builders were more pessimistic than last month.At 3.5 on a scale of one to 10, the national rating of expected sales was...