Hey, where did my Bush Boom go?

Construction of new homes posted a small gain in April but applications for building permits plunged by the largest amount in 17 years, a dramatic sign that the nation’s housing industry is still in a steep slump.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that construction of new homes and apartments rose by 2.5 percent in April compared to March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.528 million units.

Even with the improvement, housing construction is 25.9 percent lower than a year ago. And in a worrisome sign for the future, builders cut their requests for new construction permits by 8.9 percent in April. That was the sharpest drop since a 24 percent fall in February 1990, another period when housing was going through a significant downturn.

[emphasis added]