A new low for housing starts

The worst numbers for new home construction since the dawn of time. Well, actually, since Eisenhower, which is when the U.S. government started counting.


Andrew Leonard
December 17, 2008 3:10AM (UTC)

The November housing start numbers were really bad. As in, the worst numbers since the Census Bureau started keeping track in 1959. Single family starts in November, seasonally adjusted and annualized for the whole year, came in at 441,000 -- a stunning 16.9 percent decline from October.

For comparison purposes, try this on for size:  In 1959, the population of the United States was 178 million, and the December single family housing start numbers came out an annualized rate of 1.4 million. Fifty years later, the U.S. population has almost doubled, to 306 million, and yet single family housing starts are under half a million. That's an impressive achievement.

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Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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