- Peter KingMarch 16, 2011 - MortgageLoan.com
Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011
Initial construction activity for single-family homes fell in February to its lowest level since the worst of the economic crunch and to one of its lowest levels in half a century of record-keeping.
Figures released today by the Census Bureau report that both building permits and housing starts for single-family homes were down significantly in February, with building permits issuances down 9.3 percent and construction starts down 11.8 percent from the month before.
Februaryâs seasonally adjusted annual rates of 382,000 single-family permits and 375,000 construction starts are among the lowest on record. Itâs the only time either number has been below 400,000, except for the period from December 2008 to April 2009, in records stretching back more than 50 years.
In annual terms, single-family building permits are down by 27.0 percent and construction starts are down 28.8 percent compared to February 2010.
The figures are a blow to hopes that the housing market, and new home construction in particular, would begin to show growing signs of a recovery early this year. The market for new homes has especially been hurt by a flood of fire-sale priced distressed properties on the market and difficulty that both buyers and builders face in obtaining credit.
While the Census Bureau figures involve fairly substantial margins of error and the bureau cautions that several months of data are required to establish a trend, the fact that both figures fell together suggest a real slowdown likely occurred.