New home construction one-third below last year
September 17, 2008,
Washington – August activity in the home construction market showed a continued contraction, with the market one-third below year-ago levels – and slower than at any time since early 1991.
According to Commerce Department records, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new building permits has not been this low since February 1991 – when it was 853,000 units – more than 17 years ago.
Actual construction was just as sluggish. “Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 895,000,” reported Commerce. This was a 6.2% slip from the revised July estimate of 954,000 – and 33.1% below the August 2007 rate of 1,337,000 new home starts.
As for completions of privately-owned housing, the August 2008 seasonally adjusted annual rate of 961,000 or 9.8% was below July 2008 – and 35.8% below August 2007.