First on the subject of housing starts, the U.S. Census Bureau has released numbers showing privately-owned housing starts for April 2006 were down approximately 11% from the same time last year. The Census Bureau has additional April 2006 statistics available.
To read the press release: April 2006 residential construction U.S. Census Bureau. (Note that this is a pdf document and you will need Adobe Acrobat to open.)
Second, the National Association of Home Builders is forecasting a decline in housing starts for 2006.
To read more: NAHB housing starts