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KEMP TELLS BUILDERS NOT TO PANIC

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp told a home builders' convention Monday to avoid alarm over the industry's current slump.

In a speech to the National Association of Home Builders, Kemp acknowledged that last month's 8 percent decline in housing starts, the recent softening of real estate prices and the crisis in the savings and loan industry are an "understandable cause for concern."

But he said efforts by the Bush administration to lower interest rates and the proposed cut in the capital gains tax, themes sounded by President Bush in his speech Friday to the NAHB, could help revive the fortunes of the industry.

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