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CHICAGO _ Housing starts _ that's when the shovel hits the dirt _ fell 5.4 percent in April but economists and local builders say the drop is not an indicator that the home-buying boom has hit a wall.
Breaking ground for new homes fell moderately for the second consecutive month to a seasonally adjusted 1.555 million-unit annual rate, following a revised decline to 1.644 million units in March, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
The housing figures may also indicate a brief lull in home-buying activity as mortgage rates ticked slightly higher over the winter months.
"It's been startling how you can predict housing activity on mortgage rates," said Peter Kretzmer, senior economist at Bank of America in New York. As signs of an economic recovery …