Housing starts in July dipped to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 965,000 units, down 29.6% from the same month in 2007, according to the Census Bureau. Single family starts fell to a rate of 641,000 units, down 39.2% and the lowest pace since January of 1991.
Permits dipped 32.4% to an annualized rate of 937,000 units during July, while single family permits fell 41.4% to a rate of 584,000 units per year.
NAHB/Wells Fargo's Housing Market Index for August showed builder confidence low but steady and sales expectations up slightly. “While our overall measure of builder confidence remains at a record low at this time, it is a good sign that two out of three of the HMI’s component indexes rose in August, and this may be an indication that we are nearing the bottom of the long downswing in new-home sales,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Our current forecast shows stabilization of sales during the second half of this year, followed by solid recovery in 2009 and beyond.”