Housing

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Six months after Hurricane Sandy, nearly 1,000 New Yorkers are still living in temporary housing, hotel rooms paid for by the city.

DAPHNE MURPHY: My name is Daphne Murphy and I'm from Rockaway Park, Queens.

New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.

While sales of existing homes dipped in March because of a tighter inventory, sales of newly built homes rose 1.5 percent from February and were up a whopping 18.5 percent from March 2012, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say.

It's hard to remember that just a few decades ago it was difficult, if not impossible, for a woman alone to take out a mortgage. Federal legislation changed that.

And yet, it's still surprising to learn how dominant single women have become in the housing market today: Their share is second only to married couples, and twice that of single men.

There was a 0.6 percent dip in sales of existing homes in March from February, the National Association of Realtors reports, because the supply of homes for sale has tightened as the number of would-be buyers rises.

Its data suggest that sales ran at a 4.92 million annual rate last month, falling from a "downwardly revised" pace of 4.95 million the month before.

There was a 7 percent surge in housing starts last month, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

As The Associated Press notes, the pace of construction — 1.04 million starts, at an annual rate — is the fastest in nearly five years and is another sign that the housing sector continues to recover from its 2007-08 crash.

There's no way you can compete. When someone is paying less per hour, no workman's comp, no payroll taxes, [no] unemployment — we can't overcome that. - Stan Marek, CEO, Marek Family of Companies

This story is part of a two-part series about the construction industry in Texas. Find the first part here.

The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.

The government-controlled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which needed a $116 billion federal bailout after the housing bubble burst in 2007, said Tuesday that it earned a record $7.6 billion in fourth-quarter 2012 and $17.2 billion for the year.

When fortunes rise in the housing industry — as they currently are — it tends to lift sales for other businesses, too. Home construction, sales and prices are all improving. And according to many analysts, the market is gaining steam.

For nearly two decades, Scott Gillis has owned his own moving company, Great Scott Moving in Hyattsville, Md. Moving high season is just around the corner, which means Gillis is hiring.

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