Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Housing Starts Slump

A big slump in the housing starts was released today. On top of all the other bad economic news housing starts are at a 17-1/2 year low. The USA Today article titled August housing starts lowest since 1991; trade gap widens discusses the bad news. Let's take a look -

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that starts on new homes fell 6.2% from July, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 895,000, lowest since 1991 and well below the 950,000 rate that economists surveyed by Reuters had anticipated.

The August rate of starts on single-family homes was down 1.9% to 630,000, which also was the softest rate since the start of 1991.

Starts in August were a whopping 33% below the level a year earlier.

With home foreclosures soaring and prices falling, builders are clearly bracing for a protracted downturn. New applications for building permits declined 8.9% in August to an annual rate of 854,000.

It was the weakest rate for permits since February 1991 and was far below forecasts for a 930,000-unit rate. The rate of permit applications last month was 36% weaker than in August 2007.

Housing starts down. Less employment. More foreclosures. Companies that made it through the Great Depression can not make it past the Great Housing Bubble. Wow!

May you live in interesting times. Yes it is interesting and yes it is a curse.

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