WASHINGTON — Nationwide housing starts declined 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units in November as home builders continued to put the brakes on new-home production, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

“Builders are doing exactly the right thing by slowing production and allowing demand for new homes to catch up with supply,” said Brian Catalde, president of the National Association of Home Builders  and a home builder from El Segundo, CA. “Working down the inventory of unsold homes is key to returning the housing market to greater health and balance.”

“Today’s report is consistent with what single-family builders have reported in our recent surveys, and is very much in line with our expectations,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “It’s no surprise that builders are starting fewer homes and pulling fewer permits for new home construction at a time when home buyer demand is weak and there’s a heavy supply of vacant homes on the market. We expect the supply-demand balance to improve during the early part of 2008, supporting the early stages of recovery in starts and permits during the second half of next year.”

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