Industry News

Home construction loses strength

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Privately owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.85 million, down 4 percent from the revised January estimate of 1.93 million, according to estimates reported today by the U.S. Commerce Department's Census Bureau. February's pace, however, is 13.1 percent above the February 2003 rate of 1.64 million. Single-family housing starts in February 2004 were at a rate of 1.49 million, 4.1 percent below the January figure of 1.55 million. The February estimate for units in buildings with five units or more was 336,000. Construction of new homes and apartments decreased in the South by 10.6 percent and in the West by 7.5 percent from January's rate, while the Northeast and Midwest posted increases of 25.3 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively, according to the National Association of Home Builders. "Weather put a crimp in housing activity in the West and South, but favorable market conditions continue to bode well for the future. The interest rate...