Nowhere is the housing market slowdown more evident than in the 19,000-plus offices around the country where builders pay for their building permits. Permits issued in the third quarter of this year fell 25 percent from the same period in 2005, and the greatest declines were in some of the largest housing markets in the country. Our preliminary feedback is that October was even worse. Here are the year-over-year declines in some of the largest markets in the country: Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., -51 percent Tampa, Fla., -48 percent Phoenix, Ariz., -44 percent Washington, D.C., -24 percent The decline shows the tremendous discipline builders are showing in comparison to the early 1990s, and is largely the result of rising unsold inventory levels. Many builders expect these new level...
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