Housing Construction Falls In February

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — In another sign of troubles in the beleaguered housing industry, construction of new homes fell by a larger-than-expected amount last month.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that construction of new homes and apartments fell by six-tenths of one percent in February to an annual rate of 1.065 million units. That was a bigger decline than the two-tenths of one percent drop that Wall Street had been expecting, although January was revised up to show a stronger gain than originally reported.

And in a worrisome development for the future, applications for building permits plunged by 7.8 percent in February to an annual rate of 978,000 units, the slowest pace in 16 years.