December new homes sales come in at 342,000, down 7.6% from in November, and a resounding miss of expectations of 366,000. The double dip is here.
The NAHB reported its December housing market index, which came in at 15, missing expectations of a rebound from November's reading of 16, and is now at the low levels last seen in June. The double dip, at least in perceptions of what is happening to the housing market is here, and follows the recent housing starts inflection point.
Without doubt the two biggest issues before the US economy are the threat of a double dip recession and what happens when the massive liquidity pump is i) stopped and ii) put in reverse. And of the key macro economic indicators, deflation is by far the biggest bogeyman (and wildcard). Even in the context of so-called better than expected economic data, i.e., the growth in GDP, a more exhaustive dig through the deflator for gross domestic purchases reveals that deflation has still firmly gripped the economy. Yet price perceptions, which have an impact on the consumer saving and spending rate, while critical are merely one of the numerous indicators that one has to keep an eye on. The group of the four horsemen of a depression also includes overall systemic leverage, the availability of credit, and unemployment.