It was not particularly surprising to most housing market observers that January starts fell from their December levels. But what did have the market abuzz was the magnitude of the drop. With a 14.3% decline to a seasonally adjusted rate of just 1.408 million units — versus December’s revision to 1.643 million units — the housing activity level for the first month of 2007 was the lowest in nearly a decade.
Not since August 1997 has construction been begun on fewer haciendas in the United States. Indeed, the magnitude of the drop-off has more than a few observers questioning whether the nation’s current housing slump actually will last longer than recently has been anticipated.
Blake cautioned, however, that the company does not expect a dramatic turnaround in the housing market this year and said the company would give its financial outlook at next week’s analyst meeting.
[. . .] Existing U.S. home sales fell 8 percent in 2006, their biggest drop since 1989. Housing starts fell 13 percent last year, their biggest tumble in 15 years. Home sales and construction are key drivers of home improvement sales.
A booming market in rentals as home sales sag is leading to rent increases throughout most of the Hartford area in 2007.
(Buffalo) Area home sales hit 7-year low in January,
The local housing market got off to a slow start in January, with home sales sliding to a 7-year low for the month, while the median sale prices of those homes dropped by 4.6 percent, a local real estate group reported.