Some housing perspective from IHS Global Insight on the 12 percent drop in single-family starts and the 8 percent drop in single-family permits:
Conditions in the market for new homes have not been this bad since the 1930s, and they continue to worsen. In recent months, several factors that will extend the downturn in housing starts have come into play. First, the household formation rate has slowed, as homeowners losing their jobs or homes to foreclosure have moved in with family. Second, rising foreclosure rates have driven down the prices of existing homes, pricing new homes out of the market. Third, the credit crunch has made it difficult for builders with viable projects to obtain financing. Finally, the severity of the downturn and the stock market crash has reduced demand for long-lasting goods such as automobiles and new first and second homes. These factors will continue to play a role in depressing starts during 2009.