Housing starts, down almost 12% from February are the lowest they’ve been in 17 years. With 947,000 starts, building permits were also down to 927,000, from 984,000 in February.
The nationwide foreclosure rate is up 57% from last March with nearly 235,000 homes hit with foreclosure filings last month alone. Of this number, 51,393 homes were actually lost to foreclosure with “1 in every 538 households being affected by a filing in March.” (The Business Journal of Phoenix)
According to Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wachovia Corp, “Home construction is probably going to continue to fall right through this year. . . we really don’t see an improvement until later 2009, early 2010.”
Annually, the National Association of Home Builders projects housing starts to fall 30% this year.