Friday, November 17, 2006


This is not good news.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Home builders retreated on a massive scale in October, dashing hopes for a quick turnaround in the nation's housing market.
Starts of new homes plunged 14.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.486 million, the lowest level since July 2000, the Commerce Department estimated Friday.
Building permits fell as well, down 6.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.535 million, the lowest in nine years. It was the largest percentage decline in permits in seven years.
Housing starts are now down 27.4% from October 2005 levels, and building permits are down 28% on a year-on-year basis. So far in 2006, starts are down 11.1% compared with the first 10 months of 2005. Read the full government report.
October's decline was much larger than expected by Wall Street economists, who had been forecasting a 4.5% drop in starts to 1.69 million as well as a marginal decline in building permits to 1.62 million. See Economic Calendar.