HOUSING: Falling Through The Basement

Falling Through The Basement

More than just the stock market took a dive last month. Housing starts plunged by 8.2% in October, to an annual rate of 1.5 million, the lowest level in more than four years. Economists blamed steep mortgage rates, which rose from a national average of about 9% in January to nearly 12% by Black Monday, Oct. 19. Since the stock-market crash, mortgage rates have dipped to just below 11%, but that does not guarantee a quick recovery in the housing market. One reason, aside from the fact that many potential customers suffered big paper losses in the market meltdown: skittish home...