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As housing prices level off, concern grows over construction industry jobs.

March 2, 2006
By: Hillari Duthoo
State Capital Bureau

The housing bubble keeps on growing and the question on everyone's mind is "when will it burst?"

Hillari Duthoo (DOO-thoh) has that story from Jefferson City.

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The average new home selling price in St. Louis is up 8 per cent from last year.

8.5 per cent in Kansas City.

These higher prices mean bigger commissions for real-estate agents and bigger profits for those on the selling end.

But what goes up must come down.

Bob Johnson, the republican state representative from Lee's Summit, is also a home builder.

He says he is more worried about the economic ramifications than the initial loss sellers may sustain if and when prices fall.

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"People that are presently employed in the housing markets and construction industries, if they can't find comprable employment or if they are becoming underemployed that's also going to mean that they're going to be spending less."

Johnson says that while he doesn't know how long or how deep the effects will be felt, the imminent decline will cause economic problems.

From Jefferson City, I'm Hillari Duthoo.

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ANCHOR INTRO

Housing prices across the nation are plateauing, giving rise to concern over jobs in the construction industry.

Hillari Duthoo (DOO-thoh) has the story from the Capitol.

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New home prices have been plateauing nation-wide for several months.

No one knows this better than Bob Johnson, the Lee's Summit representative to the Missouri General Assembly.

Johnson is a home builder *and* one of the many citizens across this state holding their breath as new home prices show signs of dropping drastically.

He says he is worried about job loss in the housing market and construction industries, and the subsequent impact on business and commerce.

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"There's no doubt that housing has slowed and you have spec. inventory out there, and I do know that subcontractors find it more difficult to find jobs to do, which means they'll be letting some people go."

Johnson says this inherent increase in unemployment will have long reaching effects on the Missouri economy