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The Drought's Latest Victim Out West Is the Housing Market

Homebuilders may hesitate until they have a better grip on how the drought will play out
California Sets First-Ever Fines for Excess Watering in Drought
Kevork Djansezian/Bloomberg

The drought out West isn't just evident in parched front lawns. It's also starting to infiltrate U.S. housing data, according to the chief economist of a homebuilders' group.

Housing starts in the West fell for a third straight month, dropping by 19 percent in March to an annualized rate of 201,000 for the weakest since May. Construction rebounded from harsh winter weather in other parts of the country, such as the Northeast, where they jumped a record 115 percent, and the Midwest.