Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Home-Building Activity Falls to Lowest Level in 6 Years: Another Point for Nouriel Roubini and the Pessimists


New Home-Building Activity Falls to Lowest Level in 6 Years - By JEFF BATER. November 17, 2006 11:52 a.m.: WASHINGTON -- New home-building activity in the U.S. resumed its decline in October, tumbling to its lowest level in six years as builders dealt with bloated inventories of unsold property. Housing starts decreased by 14.6% to a seasonally adjusted 1.486 million annual rate, the Commerce Department said Friday. Building permits, an indicator of future building activity, fell a ninth consecutive time....

The government also lowered its original estimate for September starts, a number some economists considered a fluke. Construction rose 4.9% to 1.740 million in September, revised from an originally reported 5.9% climb to 1.772 million. Starts fell 5.7% in August, 4% during July, and 6.1% in June. Construction rose 6.6% in May. Economists had expected a less-severe drop in October. The median estimate of 22 economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires was a 5.6% fall to a 1.672 million annual rate. The 14.6% decline was the largest since 16.1% in March 2005, and it carried starts to their lowest since 1.463 million in July 2000....

In a sign that starts will likely continue to fall, October building permits dropped 6.3% to an annual rate of 1.535 million; the last month permits rose was January. Economists expected permits would be up by 0.1% to 1.640 million. Permits decreased a revised 5.2% last month to 1.638 million, compared with an earlier estimated 6.3% drop to 1.619 million....

The housing weakness trimmed a full percentage point off economic growth in the July-September quarter, when the economy expanded at a tepid 1.6% rate...

Write to Jeff Bater at


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