Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Banc One Profits Jump 15.9% to $284.9 Million

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Banc One Profits Jump 15.9% to $284.9 Million

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Construction of new homes and apartments jumped to the highest level in more than 3 years in September, boosted by a surge in multifamily units.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that apartment construction shot up 52 percent, including a 40 percent gain in buildings with five or more units.

J. Roger Glunt, president of the National Association of Home Builders, attributed the multifamily surge in part to a reauthorized tax credit for low-income housing. The program, which expired in June 1992, was extended in August as part of President Clinton's economic program.

Still, other analysts contended the increase was not sustainable even with the credit because of high vacancy rates elsewhere resulting from overbuilding in the late 1980s.

"There's no reason to build new apartments if you haven't rented out the old ones yet," said economist Mark Obrinsky of the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Overall, housing starts rose 2.8 percent in September, to a 1.35 million annual rate, highest since a 1.44 million rate in February 1990, the department reported. That helped push starts so far this year 3.9 percent above those of the first nine months of 1992.

The housing industry, particularly the single-family sector, has been one of the strongest sectors of the economy. The Home Builders are forecasting starts will total 1.24 million this year, up from 1.2 million in 1992 and 1.01 million in 1991.

President Clinton, seeking support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, told a bipartisan House delegation at the White House he was encouraged by the report, which he said indicated the economy is picking up.

"But if America wants to grow more jobs, we're going to have to increase our exports, and therefore, it is critical that we continue pushing and pass this trade agreement before the Congress goes home," he said. …

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