U.S. Housing Starts Slow More Than Expected

By John S. McClenahen The temperature inside this year's generally hot U.S. housing market cooled a bit more than economists expected in October. Housing starts fell to an annual rate of 1.6 million in October, says the U.S. Commerce Department, lower than the 1.71 million-unit rate that was anticipated. In September, housing starts were at a 1.81 million annual rate, a 26-year high. "The housing market has plateaued, but with [mortgage interest] rates hovering near 40-year lows, we don't think it is at risk of collapsing," says Gerald D. Cohen, a senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.

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