Spending on residential construction dropped 27.2 percent in 2008 to $358.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today, and was down 52.8 percent from a record peak of $676.4 billion in March 2006.

The monthly rate of spending on private residential construction projects fell for the fourth straight month in December 2008 to $319.2 billion, the lowest level since April 1999.

Total construction spending — including public and private residential and commercial projects — amounted to an estimated $1.08 trillion in 2008, down 5.1 percent from 2007.

The pace of new-home sales and housing starts hit the lowest levels on record in December, the Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported last month (see Inman News).

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