The US Commerce Department reported (pdf) the new residential construction data:
These numbers are subject to large degrees of uncertainty. The initial residential numbers are certainly a disappointing measure for the homebuilders.
Builders in the U.S. broke ground on the fewest homes since November 2004 as higher borrowing costs eroded demand, a government report showed.
Housing starts fell 7.4 percent in April, the third straight drop, to an annual rate of 1.849 million from 1.996 million. Building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.984 million, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. (Bloomberg 5/16/06)