Tuesday, June 17, 2008
In May, builders began construction on the fewest number of new homes since early in 1991, according to a new report by the Commerce Department. Housing starts fell 3.3 percent from a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 1.008 million in April to 975,000 in May, a decline of 32.1 percent from year ago levels.
Led by a rebound in multi-family construction, housing starts gained 62 percent in the Northeast, but fell 25 percent in the Midwest, 10 percent in the West, and 4.4 percent in the South.
Permits for new construction also fell, from a revised rate of 982,000 in April to 969,000 in May, a decline of 36.3 percent from this time last year.
Yesterday, the National Association of Homebuilders' Housing Market Index fell from 19 in April to 18 in May, matching an all-time low established earlier in the year, driven lower last month by reduced buyer traffic through model homes.
The bottom in housing is still not in sight.