The April 2011 Residential construction report showed Housing starts dropped -10.6% from March 2011 to a level of 523,000. This is -23 9% below April 2010. We're back to April 2009 levels and this monthly drop was the biggest since 1984. March had a +12.9% increase in housing starts from February 2011.
Single family housing starts dropped -5.1% from March and is down -30.4% for the year. Single family housing is 75% of all residential housing starts. Housing of 5 or more units has a whopping -28.3% plunge for April, but is up 5.6% for the year.
Building permits, also dropped -4.0% to 574,000 and are down -12.8% from this time last year. Single family building permits dropped -1.8% from March and are at an all time low. Below is the St. Louis Federal Reserve FRED graph for Building permits. The graph shows building permits are not always a smooth line from month to month.
Housing Completions increased 4.1% but are down -25.5% from April 2010.
This report has a large variance, so to establish a trend line one must take into account months of data. This report is also seasonally adjusted, so those believing April, due to spring and increased building activity should see a spurt, take into account there are seasonal adjustments to this report.
Bottom line, housing is spinning around in the bottom death knell. Add to a slowing overall economy, repressed wages, high unemployment, don't expect to see a rebound for a very long time.