WASHINGTON — Responding to worsening conditions in the nation’s housing and financial markets, single-family home builders continued to slow the pace of new construction in June, according to the latest data released on July 17 by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Starts of new single-family homes declined 5.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 units in June. This was the slowest pace in 17 years, and marked a decline of 64.5% from the peak of the building boom in January of 2006. Meanwhile, issuance of building permits for single-family homes declined 3.5% to a rate of 613,000 units.

“Builders continue to do their part to reduce inventories of unsold homes on the market by reining in new construction,” said Sandy Dunn, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a homebuilder from Point Pleasant, WV. “Now more than ever, it’s up to Congress, which must finish its work on a badly needed housing stimulus package that will help stabilize the housing market and stem the negative effects of the housing downswing on our economy.”

“The single-family data from today’s report is exactly in keeping with what our builder members have been telling us in recent surveys,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Traffic of prospective buyers is down substantially, and consumer confidence is very low. Job-market losses, deepening problems in the finance arena and sinking home values aggravated by the wave of foreclosures are all contributing factors that are keeping potential home buyers on the sidelines. Clearly there is a need for immediate action by Congress and the Administration to help put an end to this downward economic spiral and restore the homeownership dreams of many Americans.”

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