The number of housing starts in Judea and Samaria dropped by 27.6 percent in the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same time period in 2008, according to figures released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. As of the end of September work had begun on 1,198 new homes in Judea and Samaria, compared with the 1,654 new homes that were begun in 2008. In contrast, however, the number of completed homes rose by 30% in the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same time period in 2008. Some 1,498 new settlement homes had been completed by the end of September, compared to the 1,154 that were finished in that same time period last year. According to estimates, work is under way on a total of 3,000 homes in the West Bank settlements.