I can’t believe how quickly the rate of condominium & single-family home construction has changed over the past two years.

Obviously, there’s still a huge glut of half-built and empty condos in Southern Florida and Las Vegas (and California and …) but it will make it easier to work through the inventory if there’s nothing more in the pipeline.

On a somewhat related note, New York City has limited new construction underway, even though sales have remained strong there. The result? Even if the US economy stalls more and people start losing their jobs, they may very well be able to smugly state, “We don’t have your sorts of problems, here.”

Construction starts fell 24.8 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, the second biggest annual decline on record, exceeded only by a 26 percent decline in 1980, when interest rates were at record highs, the U.S. Commerce Department reports.

In 2007, construction was started on 1.353 million new homes and apartments. This year doesn’t look like it is going to be any better.

December’s housing starts totaled 1.006 million units at an annualized rate. Applications for building permits fell by 8.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.068 million units. That marked the seventh consecutive monthly decline and reflected the fact that builders have been slashing production plans in an effort to deal with a glut of unsold homes.

Source: Construction Starts Slow – By Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press, by way of Realtor.org

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