Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Housing Starts and Permits Tumble in July

Home building projects started in July fell 11 percent to the lowest annual rate in more than 17 years, on a seasonally adjusted basis, while building permits tumbled 17.7 percent, the Commerce Department reported today.

The annual pace of housing starts at 965,000 was the lowest since a 921,000 unit rate in March 1991.

Building permits, an indicator of future construction, dropped to an annual rate of 937,000.

The magnitude of the drop in permits was the biggest since a plunge of almost 24 percent in February 1990, while the number was the lowest since March this year, when they were 932,000.

Single family homes, which constitute the bulk of new housing, were especially weak. The annual unit rate of 641,000 single family homes started in July was the lowest since January 1991, when they were 604,000. Building permits were 584,000, the lowest since 523,000 in August 1982.

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