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News In Brief

Starts on new housing fell to 11/2-year low in August

New home construction fell 12.8 percent in August to its lowest level in 11/2 years, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It said housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.54 million units, following a drop of 6.1 percent in July.

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The two monthly declines left construction starts at their lowest rate since December 1982. Some housing analysts blamed high interest rates for the slump in housing construction and predicted more bad news in coming months.