This Housing Gauge Fails to Build Confidence

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The quality and longevity of the housing recovery remains questionable. Against the backdrop of a sluggish economy and affordability issues, housing starts in the United States fell below expectations once again last month.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, builders broke ground on houses at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 units in March, up 2.8 percent from the revised February estimate of 920,000 units, but still 5.9 percent below the March 2013 rate of 1,005,000 units. On the positive, housing starts have improved on a month-over-month basis for three consecutive months.

The results for March were worse than expected, which has been a common theme over the past year. On average, economists expected housing starts to come in around a 973,000-unit pace last month. The January reading for housing starts posted the biggest miss of expectations in seven months.

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