NAHB chief economist David Crowe cut by one-quarter today his housing starts forecasts for this year and next, now saying he's expecting 490,000 starts in 2009 and 649,000 in 2010, according to an early release of his presentation at today's NAHB spring construction forecast conference. Both numbers are sharp drops from the 905,000 starts in 2008 and suggest America's housing industry will take years to recover.

In January, Crowe had predicted 649,000 starts this year, of which 461,000 were single-family homes and 188,000 were multifamily units. Now he's looking for 360,000 single-family homes and 130,000 multifamily units to go up in 2009.

Looking ahead to 2010, Crowe previously projected 664,000 single-family starts and 205,000 multifamily starts next year. He has revised that those figures to 523,000 single-family and 126,000 multifamily starts in 2010. 

In essence, Crowe's 2009 predictions were pushed to 2010 given the ongoing housing and economic downturn.

Craig Webb is editor of ProSales magazine.