Economic reports released today show that activity in two sectors of the housing market dropped to its lowest levels in more than a year, providing some of the latest evidence that elevated mortgage rates and home prices may have slowed the pace of the real estate recovery. "Housing is not about to collapse into another bust, but it is due for a pause after a strong rebound since the first half of 2012," wrote David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, explaining the thrust of the reports. For the week ending Feb. 14, a seasonally adjusted purchase index from the Mortgage Bankers Association hit its lowest level since September 2011, the trade group said today. On an unadjusted basis, demand for purchase loans for the week dropped 17 percent from the same week a year before. Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today that housing starts in January hit a 17-month low, falling 7 percen...
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