November housing starts show sharp decline

November housing starts declined 3.7 percent from last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,187,000, compared to the revised October estimate of 1,232,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The figure represents a 24.2 percent drop from November 2006.

The hardest-hit region was the West, which showed a 28.3 percent decline year over year. That compared to declines of 27.4 percent in the South, 16.3 percent in the Northeast and 11.0 percent in the Midwest. The only positive regional numbers came in the South, where total starts increased 0.3 percent over last month, and single-unit starts increased 5.4 percent over last month.

Housing units authorized by building permits in November declined 24.6 percent year over year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,152,000. This is 1.5 percent below the revised October rate of 1,170,000.

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