Lowest Figure In Recorded History
WASHINGTON, DC — In January 2009, housing starts dropped to the lowest level since records began, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. New home construction has plummeted to an annual rate of 466,000, down 80% from January 2006, when housing starts hit 2,273,000.
The National Association of Homebuilders declared that housing starts are in “an uninterrupted free-fall.” Never since the U.S. government began keeping records in 1959 has the number of housing starts been this low.
According to The New York Times, builders have “virtually closed up shop amid falling demand.” Nariman Behravesh, the chief economist for HIS Global Insight, said, “Housing and the U.S. economy are still in a freefall. It’s clear that we haven’t done anything to stabilize housing.”
James Glassman, senior United States economist at JPMorgan Chase, said, “The problem with the builders is that they’re competing with property that’s coming to the market from foreclosures. There’s this tug of war going on between the resale market and the builders.”
The Financial Times quoted Ian Sheperdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “With the inventory of new homes still rising relative to sales, we can’t be confident this is the bottom,” Sheperdson.