Wednesday, June 18, 2008

US May Housing Starts Fall To 17-Year Low

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 17 June 2008

WASHINGTON : US housing starts slid 3.3 percent in May to the slowest pace in 17 years amid a prolonged slump in the real-estate sector, government data showed on Tuesday.

Construction workers build a new home in North Aurora, Illinois.

May housing starts represented a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 975,000 units, the Commerce Department said, slightly below the consensus analyst forecast of 980,000 units.

That was the lowest level since 921,000 in March 1991.

On a 12-month basis, new housing construction in May plunged 32.1 percent from the revised May 2007 rate of 1,436,000 units.

Construction permits, an indicator of future activity in the housing sector, slipped 1.3 percent from April to a rate of 969,000 units and were 36.3 percent below the May 2007 level.

The May declines marked a return to a downward trend after a surprisingly strong jump in homebuilding in April.

The Commerce Department revised downward its initial estimate of April housing starts to 1.008 million units, from 1.032 million.

It raised its prior estimate on April permits to 982,000 units, from 978,000. - AFP/de

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