Housing starts fell to the lowest level in 14 years during September, according to the latest numbers from the Census Bureau. September starts hit a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.19 million units, down 30.8% from the same month in 2006. Single family starts were at an anemic 963,000-unit pace, also 30.8% below September 2006.
Through the first three quarters of 2007, nearly 1.08 million homes were started, down 25.2% from the same period of 2006. About 859,000 single family homes have been started in the first nine months of 2007, down 27.7% from the same period in 2006.
Permits were issued in September at a 1.23 million unit pace, down 25.9% from the annualized rate in September, 2006. Single family home permits dipped 28.6% during the month to a rate of 868,000 units per year.
NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders found a gleam of silver behind the dark cloud: “While there’s no question that the housing downswing continues to be played out in markets across the country, today’s numbers show that builders are pulling back on production until sales improve. This is exactly what our latest builder surveys have told us. We do expect some additional downward movement in housing production going into next year, at which point starts should begin to stabilize as sales turn upward in the second quarter.”