March housing starts fell 36.5% from the same month in 2007 to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 947,000 units, the lowest pace since 1991. Single family starts had even rougher going during the month, down 43.6% from March 2007 levels to a rate of 680,000 units, according to the Census Bureau.
Permits during the month fell 40.9% from March, 2007, to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 927,000 units, and single family permits were down 46.4% to a 606,000-unit pace.
For the year to date, total starts are 30.2% below 2007's pace at 224,700 units started, and permits are down 37.3% to 227,700 permits issued. Single family starts in the first quarter fell 39.0% to 158,400 units started so far in 2008, and single family permits are down 43.9% to just 147,200 permits issued.