New homes built in the US were down 22.5% in February compared with the previous month in the second lowest month since records began.
The homebuilders in America began work on 479,000 new houses in the month, just above the previous record low of 477,000 homes during the recession in April 2009.
With records running over 50 years the current level is well below the predicted rate of 560,000 new home build starts.
The figure was 22% below January and also 20.8% down on the same month last year, according to the data supplied by the US Commerce Department.
One reason for the drop was Januarys high figure, where 618,000 house starts were recorded, 22,000 more than had been predicted.
Bill McBride of the Calculated Risk blog said, “This low level of starts is good news for housing,”
He added, “I expect starts to stay low until more of the excess inventory of existing homes is absorbed,” based on his theory that the large number of repossessed and unsold homes in America was made worse by the rate of newly built homes.
With many in America struggling to get mortgages, demand for housing is still relatively low, and recent months have seen mortgage applications drop further.