Business has been so good for so long that the current building boom is beginning
to seem permanent. But according to some analysts, a gradual slowdown
may already be underway. After reaching a peak in February of this year, housing
starts declined through most of the spring and summer, as the Federal Reserve
raised interest rates to cool off what it saw as an overheated economy.
According to NAHB economist Stanley Duobinis, that downward trend is
likely to continue for at least another year. He expects the 1.68 million housing
starts recorded in 1999 to fall to about 1.59 million for the year 2000. The figure