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HOUSING STARTS DROP TO LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 1945

 HOUSING STARTS DROP TO LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 1945
 LAS VEGAS, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Housing starts in 1991 dropped


to 1,015,000, a 15 percent decrease from the 1990 total and the lowest number since 1946, the Bureau of Census reported today.
 Single-family starts totaled 842,000 for 1991, a 6 percent drop from the previous year. And starts in the multifamily sector, where units are actually being removed from the inventory faster than they are being replaced, dropped 42 percent from the previous year to a total of 173,000.
 "Although starts fell to record lows in 1991, we are optimistic that a housing recovery is on the horizon," said Mark Ellis Tipton, president of the National Association of Home Builders, which is holding its 48th annual convention and exposition in Las Vegas this week.
 "The pieces necessary for a housing recovery appear to be falling into place," Tipton added. "Mortgage interest rates are at the lowest levels in almost two decades and monthly starts for December, which the Bureau of the Census also reported today, were up 2.6 percent from the November totals. Building permits, which are a good indicator of future building activity, were up almost 6 percent.
 "In addition," Tipton said, "the economy is clearly President Bush's top priority, and we are hopeful that the economic recovery plan that he unveils in his State of the Union address next week will include a timely housing stimulus component."
 A one-year, $2,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, first proposed by NAHB last fall, would stimulate construction of an additional 250,000 homes and create 450,000 new jobs. It would also generate more than $4 billion in additional tax revenues, more than offsetting its $1 billion cost in lost tax revenues.
 -0- 1/22/92
 /CONTACT: Jay Shackford of National Association of Home Builders, 702-791-9335/ CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: Nevada IN: SU:


MK-DC -- DC033 -- 2528 01/22/92 17:33 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 22, 1992
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