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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Housing starts and building permits plunged in December much more than expected, resulting in a full-year decline in new home construction that was the sharpest drop in 27 years.
And there is little sign things will get better soon. According to government data released Thursday, the full-year total for building permits posted the biggest drop in 33 years. The sharp dropoff in building is one of the reasons that many leading economists are growing increasingly fearful that an economic recession is near, if it hasn't already struck.