New Home Starts Slow at Record Pace

By Alan Zibel

WASHINGTON -- A government report says construction of new homes plunged 4.5% last month to the lowest level on government records, as U.S. builders slashed production while Wall Street nosedived.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that construction of new homes and apartments dropped more than expected to an annual rate of 791,000 units from an upwardly revised September rate of 828,000 units. Previously, the slowest pace had been in January 1991, when the country was in recession and going through a similar housing correction. The government's records date back to 1959.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected construction to fall to a rate of 780,000 units. It was the fourth-straight monthly drop.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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