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April 16, 2009    

New US house construction falls sharply

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by Kay Murchie
New US house construction falls sharply

The US Commerce Department has today revealed that new housebuilding fell sharply last month, dashing hopes of a recovery in the housing market.

The fall follows a surprise increase the previous month but official figures show that March’s figures were the second lowest level since the Commerce Department began keeping records in 1959, with construction of new houses and apartments plummeting 10.8%.

On an annual basis, housing starts are down nearly 50% as builders mothball building projects for fear of falling real estate prices.

Furthermore, applications for building permits, a barometer of future home construction, fell 9% compared with February.

The figures follow on from a recent survey carried out by Foreclosures.com which established that 175,199 homes were repossessed by lenders last month.

So far this year, nearly 370,000 families have lost their homes and the figures are worrying for US President Barack Obama, who suggested earlier this week that the US economy is seeing signs of progress.

However, recovery of the US housing market is crucial to the overall recovery of the world’s largest economy.

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