Industry News

2008 not so great, says builders’ economist

NAHB expects single-family starts to fall 24% next year

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Single-family housing starts are expected to plummet 29.3 percent this year compared to 2006, and to drop another 23.6 percent in 2008, National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Seiders said in a forecast report Thursday. Seiders expects house values to fall about 10 to 15 percent from the peak of the boom to the low point in the downturn, with further price erosion next year. He said the price declines should ease some housing-affordability problems. "This year has turned out to be much weaker than I had expected a year ago," he said, and he blamed the "progressive meltdown of the housing finance system" for the housing market's unexpected rate of decline. "The probability of recession has probably increased fairly significantly in a short period of time," and Seiders said he estimates a 40 percent chance that the economy will sink into recession in the next two quarters. "We really are right now in a danger zone in terms of overall economic activity. I...