Housing: Recovering, Slowly

In their cheerful forecasts for a summer surge in the U.S. economy, Washington policymakers have counted on a strong rebound by the housing industry—the foremost victim of last year's tight money. Though housing has clearly begun to climb back from its worst slump in almost a decade, the revival so far has been a bit sluggish. Last week the Commerce Department reported that March housing starts showed a mere 1.7% gain from their February doldrums, to an annual rate of 1,171,000 new houses and apartments. At that pace, the industry was barely bettering its performance during the last half...

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