The U.S.’s big four banks reported that they’ve written 24% less in mortgages than the same quarter last year — $175.4 billion in Q3 2011 vs. about $231 billion in Q3 2010.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau says that housing starts were probably up in September compared to a year before. (Why “probably”? Because the figure is up 10.2%, but that’s plus/minus 13.3% — so the margin of error is bigger than the jump itself.)

Read the details at Calculated Risk.