Housing construction falls sharply in March

By: By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
By: By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The construction of new homes plunged in March to the lowest level in 17 years, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Housing construction dropped by 11.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 947,000 units, a much bigger decline than economists had been forecasting.

Building permits also fell in March, signalling even more problems ahead for the beleaguered housing industry.

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