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Housing starts fall sharply

  |   March 16, 2011 at 11:19 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- New U.S. home construction fell sharply in February compared with January, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

At an annual rate, there were an estimated 479,000 privately owned housing starts in the month, 22.5 percent lower than the upwardly revised January figure of 618,000.

Housing starts, however, were also 20.8 percent below the 605,000 starts from the same month a year ago.

The Commerce Department said there were 517,000 housing permits issued in February, 8.2 percent below the revised January annual rate of 563,000 and 20.5 percent below the 650,000 issued in February 2010.

Commerce said 581,000 privately owned housing projects were completed in February, 13.9 percent above a revised January estimate of 510,000 but 13 percent below February 2010, when 668,000 home project completions were recorded on an annual basis.

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