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Housing starts, permits hit lowest rate since 1991

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Housing starts and building-permit authorizations in March fell to the lowest adjusted annual rate since 1991, and the rate of single-family starts and building permits dropped for the 12th consecutive month, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing units authorized by building permits dropped about 40.9 percent year-over-year in March, to 927,000. This rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in construction activity of privately owned housing. The rate of single-family homes authorized by building permits fell about 46.4 percent in March compared to the same month last year, to 606,000. Housing starts hit an adjusted annual rate of 947,000 in March, down about 36.5 percent compared to March 2007. The rate of single-family starts plummeted 43.6 percent year-over-year in March, to 680,000. The lead econo...