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Apartment Construction Slows to Crawl

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Housing starts plummeted in April, according to the Wall Street Journal, with multi-unit housing projects (condo and apartment buildings) seeing the biggest slowdown: "Construction of housing with two or more units dropped 46.1% to 90,000; within that category, groundbreakings of homes with five or more units -- or multifamily -- were 42.2% lower." Additionally, building permits also fell, according to AFP: "The number of construction permits on new US homes fell 3.3 percent from March to an annual rate of 494,000, the Commerce Department reported in seasonally adjusted data. The pace was the lowest since the data began to be tracked in 1960 and eclipsed the prior record set in March of a revised 511,000 permits." But construction of single family homes in the West jumped 42.5%, and overall, those "single-family numbers pointed to the beginnings of stabilization" of the market, according to some experts. And here's the New York Times: "Economists said the numbers demonstrated that builders simply do not see much demand for new homes. A glut of foreclosure properties continues to flood the market, and many potential buyers are still hesitant to enter the market as long as home values keep falling and unemployment continues to rise." [WSJ/AFP/NYT]