WASHINGTON –According to information released by the Commerce Department, housing starts fell 2.1% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.474 million units as the correction in the housing market continued. Housing starts were down 24.2% from a year earlier.

“Builders still are cutting back on new production as they work down their inventories in the face of slack home buyer demand,” said Brain Catalde, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from El Segundo, CA.

“The downswing in new housing production is still underway, although the rate of decline has slowed since late last year,” said David Seiders, NAHB chief economist. “We still expect starts and permits to bottom out late this year before a systematic recovery process begins in 2008.”

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