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HOUSING STARTS DOWN 2.8 PERCENT IN JULY

 HOUSING STARTS DOWN 2.8 PERCENT IN JULY
 WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- New home construction fell


2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,119,000, the Commerce Department reported today.
 "With interest rates near 20-year lows, this is just another indicator of the overall weakness in the economy," said Robert "Jay" Buchert, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "It is time for our lawmakers to set aside their partisan politics and enact an economic stimulus package containing a tax credit for first-time home buyers that will help put housing and the U.S. economy back on track."
 The Federal Reserve cut its key discount rate, the rate the Fed charges member banks, from 3.5 percent to 3 percent early last month in a bid to stimulate the economy. Long-term mortgage rates soon declined to 8 percent, the lowest level since 1973, and adjustable- rate mortgages fell to all-time lows.
 "While lower rates are welcome news for the housing industry and the economy, Congress and the administration must realize that monetary policy by itself is insufficient to deal with our serious economic problems," said Buchert.
 Before Congress adjourned for its summer recess last week, the Senate was poised to vote on a major tax bill that included, among other things, a $2,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers who purchase their home between July 28 and Dec. 31, 1992.
 "When Congress reconvenes in September, the first order of business should be for the Senate to ensure the home buyer tax credit passes so that we can create new jobs and give the economy a much- needed boost," Buchert said.
 Construction of single-family homes was at a pace of 959,000 in July, down 4.1 percent from June. Multifamily units were up 6 percent to a rate of 160,000 units in July.
 Regionally, new housing construction fell 5.5 percent in the Northeast, was down 1.5 percent in the Midwest and was off 7.7 percent in the West. It rose 0.4 percent in the South.
 New building permits, often a harbinger of future housing activity, were is sued at a rate of 1,070,000 in July, up 3.7 percent from June.
 "We're expecting housing starts to rise somewhat over the balance of the year but without any fiscal stimulus, this will be a very weak recovery," Buchert said.
 -0- 8/18/92
 /CONTACT: Jay Shackford of the National Association of Home Builders, 202-822-0406/ CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: District of Columbia IN: CST SU: ECO


MH -- DC007 -- 0949 08/18/92 12:15 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 18, 1992
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Confidence up, but not buying plans.
NEWS BRIEFS.
Rental Housing Market and Economic Update--August 2001.

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