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Jun. 6--As mortgage rates inch up, demand for new homes is slacking off, but only slightly, local builders say.
"Our phones are not ringing as much as they were months ago. But they were ringing so much before," said Leon Siegel, a longtime Columbus home builder.
"You can be going along at 110 percent and drop to 95 percent and still be doing well," he said. "We've been going along at such a hectic pace, that this (slowdown) is not noticeably felt.
"Some of the guys I talked to are welcoming a slight slowdown," Siegel added. "Some are now running a week behind. You know that the marketplace is busy."
While permits for new homes dipped in April - 45 down from 85 in March and 60 in April of 1993 - May's housing permits should match 1993's numbers, said Cathy Vaughn, executive director for the Columbus Home Builders Association.
"I don't see that interest rates are going to make a difference," Vaughn said. "We're still in the neighborhood that we were last year - in the 21-year high. We're still in an incredibly strong building climate."
The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. reported that mortgage rates averaged 8.32 …