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Another 17-year low for housing starts

  

Construction of new homes fell to another 17-year low last month according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s latest report on new home construction.

It’s yet another sign that the country is still in the throes of a housing downturn that has had significant effects across the economy, leading to the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers, and, most recently, the takeover of insurance giant AIG.

Nationwide, new construction slumped a total of 6.2 percent from last month, a far larger drop than the 1.6 percent that economists expected. That’s 33.1 percent below last year, and the lowest reading since January 1991.

Single-family housing starts alone dropped 1.9 percent from July and were 34.9 percent below August 2007.

In the south, the construction of new single-family homes dropped 7.4 percent from last month and was a dismal 42.1 percent below last year’s level.

 

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