The rout stems from a law this year that seeks to make housing more affordable by capping rents in expensive neighborhoods. (Wikimedia Commons)
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French President Francois Hollande's government may have made a housing slump worse, pushing the construction market to its lowest in more than 15 years. Housing starts fell 19 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, and permits – a gauge of future construction – dropped 13 percent, the Housing Ministry said Tuesday.Barbet says the drop in home building lopped 0.4 points off France's gross domestic product growth last year and cut the pace of expansion by a third in the first quarter. Expenditure in the sector was at its lowest level ever as a portion of total real GDP in the first quarter at 4.7 percent, down from 6.3 percent in the first three months of 2007 .Reduced home construction is threatening Hollande's goal of increasing GDP by 1 percent this year.Hollande, who has been trying to revive an economy that has barely grown in two years, is grappling with a record 3.3 million jobless claims and an approval rating that's at the lowest level ever for any French president.
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