The number of new housing units built in the US was down by one quarter from the year before, according to recent data from the Census Bureau, depicted on the map below. Estimates for 2007 (final data for previous years here) show that fewer homes were built in every state except Montana and New York, with especially deep plunges in Florida (down 49 percent), Michigan (down 36 percent), and California (down 35 percent). Massachusetts was down by 24 percent, or about the national average.
New York's net gain came entirely from multifamily housing; the number of new single-family homes still dropped there, as it did everywhere except the District of Columbia and Montana. In fact, the number of new units in buildings with more than five residences went up in 19 states, suggesting a turn toward cheaper homes in a bad economy.
The National Association of Home Builders predicts a further decline in new housing units in 2008, followed by a slight recovery next year.
The second map compares 2007 housing start figures with those of 2000. Even with last year's plunge, 22 states approved permits for more housing units than they did at the beginning of the decade.