Housing starts in November fell to the lowest level since the Commerce Department began tracking new home construction in January of 1959, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Tuesday morning.
Housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000, 18.9% below a downwardly revised October estimate of 771,000 and 47% below the revised November 2007 rate of 1,179,000. It was the biggest percentage drop since March, 1984.
Single-family starts fell 16.9% to 441,000; this is 16.9 percent below the October figure of 531,000 and 46% off last year's pace.
Likewise, building permits in November fell 15.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 616,000, 48.1% below November 2007. Single-family authorizations in November were down 12.3% to a rate of 412,000, 46.3% off last year's pace.
Completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,084,000, 3.3% above the revised October estimate of 1,049,000 but is 22.8% below the revised November 2007 rate of 1,404,000. Single-family completions were at a rate of 760,000, this is 0.9% above the October figure of 753,000.
Regionally, starts for all housing types were down 34.6% in the Northeast, down 42.1% for single family; down 23.1% in the Midwest, with single family off 12.9%; down 15.6% in the South, -13.6% for single family; and down 16.8% in the West, -15.5% for single family. On a year to year basis, the Northeast was down 60.2% for all housing types and 59.8% for single family:the Midwest -55.5% and -41.7%; the South -40.9% and -45.7%; and the West -47.5% and -43.4% , respectively.
Permits were -14.7% overall and -10.6% for single family in the Northeast; -22.1% and -12.8% in the Midwest; -18.7% and -14.0% in the South; and -3.7% and -8.5% in the West. Year over year, permits were down -49.2% overall and -40.0% for single family in the Northeast; -46.9% and -42.7% in the Midwest; -50.3% and -48.5% in the South; and -43.6% and -46.3% in the West.