Out today… Ouch!
Higher unemployment, tight-fisted lending and sagging consumer confidence drove the new-home market to record lows in 2008.
Tampa Bay area builders started construction on 932 homes in the last quarter of 2008, crowning a crummy year in which only 4,730 homes broke ground.
The previous low for annual housing starts was 4,798 in 1991, another recession year that messed up the housing market.
“The fourth-quarter number was the lowest in the 23 years that we’ve been keeping records,” said Tony Polito, a housing consultant in the Tampa office of Metrostudy.
Our region’s not alone. Builders broke ground on 904,000 homes nationally in 2008, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. It was the worst year for the industry since they started keeping records in 1959.
Tampa Bay area housing starts have plummeted 73 percent since the 2006 boom year. Here’s a recent yearly breakdown: