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Byline: Carol Hazard
Feb. 2--Housing starts are weak but should pick up in the third quarter, a Richmond economist predicted. "Housing is nearing the trough," said Christine Chmura of Chmura Economics & Analytics in Richmond.
Chmura spoke yesterday at the annual economic-forecast meeting of the Home Building Association of Richmond. About 500 people attended.
"Clearly, the housing market is slowing here as it is in the nation," Chmura said. "The big risk is that housing would fall further and oil prices would jump." Housing starts nationally are down 32 percent from their peak, she said. In Richmond, they are down 30 percent. In the 1991 …