Construction spending declined 3.3 percent in January, reflecting a continued slump in the housing market, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Building permits in January for new construction were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 521,000, a whopping 50.5 percent below the January 2008 estimate of 1,052,000.
Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 466,000. This is 16.8 percent below the rate for December and 56.2 percent below the revised January 2008 rate of 1,064,000.
Completions of privately-owned housing in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000, which is 24.2 percent below the revised December estimate of 1,024,000 and 41.7 percent below the revised figures for January 2008.
The value of nonresidential construction starts fell 23 percent, according to Reed Construction Data, which said it expects several more steep monthly declines before the new construction money from the economic stimulus can boost the market again.
Overall construction spending is expected to drop 12 percent in 2009 and then recover 4.6% in 2010, Reed Construction Data reported. The peak spending level reached in March 2006 will not be regained until about mid-2012.