Housing starts, new home sales, both drop
September 27, 2006,
Washington -- After losing momentum over the past several months, the U.S. housing market showed some signs of bottoming out during August, with sales of existing homes holding relatively steady and new home sales posting an unexpected gain, even as builders slammed on the brakes and housing starts continued to slide.
That further intensified the jitters of already skittish home builders, who continued to take a wait-and-see attitude in August, driving housing starts down a steep 6.0%. Reluctant to pony up the cash to start building houses that people may or may not buy, starts have now plummeted by 26.5% to 1.7 million units on a seasonally adjusted basis from a 13-month high of 2.3 million in February.