Builders broke ground on a total of 587,600 homes in 2010, just barely better than the 554,000 started in 2009. Those are the two worst years on records dating back to 1959.
And the pace is getting worse. The Commerce Department says builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 new homes and apartments last month, a drop of 4.3 percent from November.
In a healthy economy, builders start about one million units a year. They built twice as many in 2005, at the height of the housing boom. Since then the market has been in decline.
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