New residential building in the US hit a record low last year, said government data published yesterday.

Housing starts for 2008 fell 33 per cent to 904,300 homes, after tumbling 25% the previous year as the US entered a deep recession.

Builders broke ground on fewer new homes in December, leaving the month’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction at 550,000.

It was the lowest level since records began in 1959 and was down 15.5% from November and 45% from the same month a year earlier.

Housing starts were off the most in the south and Midwest in December, where they fell 22.2% and 24.5% respectively, though they rose 12.7% in the north-east. New construction declined for both single and multi-family homes.

Financial Times, New York Times