New-home construction plunges 78% – Sacramento Business Journal:

Sacramento-area new-home construction declined 78 percent last month compared to a year ago, one of the largest drops in the state — and more than double the statewide average.

Construction fell to 150 single-family homes in the four-county region in September, compared to 696 homes for the same month in 2008, according to the California Building Industry Association. The figure — which includes all construction, from condominiums to single-family homes — was slightly better for the first nine months of the year, with new-home construction down 52 percent to 2,186 homes, from 4,579 homes for the same period last year.

Single-family construction fared a bit better in the region, with 144 homes in September, a 33 percent decline from the 331 homes last year. For the first nine months of the year, single-family construction fell 42 percent to 1,798 homes, from 3,122 homes.

Statewide, new-home construction dropped 36 percent last month to 2,920 homes in September, from 4,542 homes in September 2008. Last month was a better showing than the past nine months, when construction plummeted 47.4 percent to 27,030 homes — or 24,400 homes less than the first nine months of 2008.

The Construction Industry Research Board has downgraded its estimates to 37,700 homes this year, which would be a modern-day record.

Homebuilders are pushing for the return of the homebuyers tax credit, which helped sales during the past few months.

“Since the discontinuation of the popular homebuyer tax credit, we have seen a significant drop in traffic these past few months which continues to drag down new-home construction, and, in turn, job creation,” said Liz Snow, president and chief executive officer of the CBIA. “The tax credit program only lasted for four months due to its growing popularity, but we saw a significant increase in traffic during that time, which led to an increase in job-generating new-home construction.”

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