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Housing Starts Rise 0.3 Percent

September 19, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Housing construction rose modestly in August, with all the strength coming from a big jump in single-family-home projects. Construction of apartments and condos fell sharply.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that builders began work on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.53 million last month, a 0.3 percent increase from July.

The August increase was smaller than many analysts anticipated.

In July, housing construction fell by 2.9 percent.

The Federal Reserve has boosted interest rates six times since June 1999 to slow the economy and keep inflation under control. A spate of economic reports have suggested the economy is moderating from its frenzied pace. Given that, many analysts believe the Fed is through raising rates for this year.

Housing construction has been an engine of the vibrant economy and even with higher interest rates, activity has remained healthy.

In August, the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages eased from the month before but was still considerably higher than the average rate for August 1999.

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