More bleak housing data.

The number of building permits issued fell 5.8 percent from February to March, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau announced today.

They declined by almost 41 percent from a year earlier.

Builders started constructing fewer new homes as well. New housing starts dropped 11.9 percent from February. They’re down 36.5 percent from March 2007.

Bloomberg reported: “Home construction is probably going to continue to fall right through this year,” Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “While we see a bottoming in sales in 2008, we really don’t see an improvement until later 2009, early 2010” in home building.

I suppose now it’s just a matter of the numbers supporting what much of the public already feels – the housing market is gloomy and may get worse before it gets better. It’s a good time to stay put.

Check out Ilyce’s recent column which goes into detail why people shouldn’t be in a hurry to unload their homes:

April 16, 2008