A year ago, the professional economic forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (from companies such as Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae, Moody’s, and Wells Fargo) predicted that 2012 would see 850,000 housing starts*.

They’ve just revised that prediction downward; the consensus is now that 2012 will only see about 700,000 starts.

Although that’s a big drop from the original prediction (-11.7%, if you’re counting), it’s still predicting a 14.7% jump in starts from 2011.

(So how did these forecasters do in 2011? Originally they predicted 720,000 starts for 2011, but by February 2011 they had revised their predictions to just 660,000. Actual number: 609,000.)

 

* A “start” is either the sale of a new home, or breaking ground on one