January housing starts fall to lowest annual pace since World War II


Yet another ignominious stat for the housing sector in the world's largest economy.

U.S. housing starts plunged 16.8% [pdf] in January, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Wednesday, as builders continued to reduce supply amid the nation's worst housing slump in decades.

Housing starts for new homes fell to a 466,000 annual rate in January -- the weakest level since World War II. Housing starts are now down 56% in the past year and about 80% since the sector's peak achieved about three years ago.