Housing: A Three-Story Pinch

Despite the apparently exuberant health of the U.S. economy, one of the nation's biggest industries—housing—is growing sicker week by week. It is pinched three ways: by listless demand, tight money and climbing construction costs. In February, the annual rate of private-housing starts slumped to a three-year low of 1,318,000, or 12% below the lackluster 1965 level. The Federal Reserve Board estimates that the slide grew even worse in March.

Last week, in a move aimed at bolstering housing by allowing it to raise its bid for increasingly scarce and costly mortgage credit, Washington lifted the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!