No Housing Recovery On This Chart Either

Tyler Durden's picture

Minutes ago, the US Census Bureau released the February Housing Starts data, which printing at 698K was a mild disappointment, as it was below expectations of 700K, and down from a revised 706K. However, as usual, the headline gives only half the story. Here is the reality: in February, only 48.1k homes were started (Not Seasonally Adjusted). This compares to 46.5K in January. However, of this number Single Unit houses, those which are relevant for actual housing demand, and not the 5+ units more relevant for rental purposes, declined from 33.0K to 31.5K. In fact, the 31.5K number was the weakest since December's 31.0K, and then all the way back to February 26.6K. What offset this? The surge in multi-family housing units, as usual, which rose from 12.3K to 16.1K. Recall that lately there has been a shift from owning to renting, and as such builders are focusing on this. All of this is summarized in the SAAR based (Seasonally Adjusted) chart below. It gets worse: looking at actual completions, far more important in this New Normal economy, where everyone is willing to take credit for a hole in the ground as "new housing" what really matters is the rate of completions. And in January, it was a meager 28.6K, a tiny rise from January, and lowest than any number in 2011, except for last February. Sorry - there is no housing bottom. If anything, true housing continues to creep along the bottom as can be seen in the chart below.

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Trader47's picture

Recovery continues

AN0NYM0US's picture

not to mention that it has been summer this winter, which in housing is a big big deal

qqqqtrader's picture


with unemployment

and retail sales

YoY chart

memyselfiu's picture

I was just thinking that- Netflix reports worse earnings than average because of the nice weather, wonder what housing would have been like WITHOUT the nice weather....

jus_lite_reading's picture

If you want to see a "recovery" or even a housing BOOM, go check out what they are doing in places like Alpine NJ, Chatham NJ, Short Hills and Summit NJ... I DARE YOU!!

MEGA MANSIONS that you have never seen before!! One house currently under construction has 21 BATHROOMS and a 3000 SQ FT pool house with heated marble floors!!

Yet in most middle class areas you see abandoned homes, emtpy homes that have been sitting for years for sale and worse... the property taxes continue to rise...


dhengineer's picture

Sounds like they are building with an eye to eventually subdividing the house into, what, 21 tiny SRO apartments in the future.  The 3000-sq ft pool house can hold five families easily.  Heated marble floors?  Cuts down on the need for central heating...

Don't you just love the smell of sarcasm in the morning?

DeadFred's picture

The trend toward housing Americans in rabbit warrens has been here for awhile. The young couple with 2.1 kids living in suburbia is become fairly uncommon.

Woodyg's picture

Not surprising at all as David Cay Johnson shows:

" The top one percent enjoyed 45 percent of Clinton-era income growth, 65 percent of Bush-era growth and 93 percent of Obama-era growth, though that is only through 2010"

As I say - any economic system that delivers All the gains to one small segment of society is BY DEFINITION Corrupt.

Maybe we wouldn't need all those entitlement payments from uncle Sam if the wealthy didn't game the system and thereby steal all the gains from growth.

Income is basically Fixed in the short term(even Milton fried man said that) - so the more the .001% have the less the rest of us have to build bridges, educate our kids and develop a future worth living.

The problem is those .001% are sociopaths lacking empathy and even common decency!

Off with their heads! Or we can tax you as the repubs and dems did for 40 years with great success for America : 90% tax on incomes over 3 mil a year!

847328_3527's picture

Summit NJ...even London McMansions are all trickle down from the Mega-Bailout Bonuses taxpayers gave Wall Street and the City of London in 2008---2011.

Abiotic Oil's picture

Wow... out of all the shadow inventory that was transferred and/or improperly foreclosed upon through MERS, stolen through the "settlement" and still sitting vacant... and 698,000 new homes were started?

And now Obama's mark to market re-finance plan for underwater home-"owners" that lowers their principal...  

Should I just start paying my neighbors mortgage directly, since I was the dumbass that paid cash for my property, rather than having the IRS middle man the funds though taxation?


memyselfiu's picture

that's the yearly average though, no?

Cdad's picture

Sorry - there is no housing bottom.

There is to!  It's just off the right side of the chart...and down ;)  Cue up bobble head Cramer.

cat2's picture

The days of people being able to afford a McMansion or single family unit are over.  I see apartments in our future.

Sudden Debt's picture

Or as Stalin used to say: "SHARED LIVING UNITS"


evolutionx's picture

Summer 2012: Iran war, crash in the markets and financial institutions


five devastating storms will mark the summer of 2012 and thus accelerate the process of world geopolitical swing:

  • . US relapse into recession against the background of European stagnation and BRICS slowdown
  • . dead end for the central banks and interest rate increases
  • . storm on the foreign exchange and Western sovereign debt markets
  • . Iran, the war « too far »
  • new crash in the markets and financial institutions.


Full Analysis:

fonzannoon's picture

with all these empty homes out there it makes sense that we need to be building a lot more new ones.

Quinvarius's picture

As long as the Fed keeps buying shit MBS at 100 cents on the dollar from the bankers, there is endless demand.

AU5K's picture

OBAMA, 2013:


"My new Making Homes Affordable plan will require everyone to pay into a home ticket system, based on your income level.  Then, we will give out these tickets to everyone based on their need.  Once only for the privileged few, the dream of home ownership for everyone is right around the corner."

Hippocratic Oaf's picture

I shouldn't up-tick a comment that disgusts me, but the reality of that comment is spot-on.

monopoly's picture

it will take a decade for housing to heal and at that point it will slowly move higher. There is no recovery. That was an insane bubble that burst. It is over. You need a cave, good luck on rentals as the govt. starts having to buy up more housing and competes with the investor on a rental. Lets see govt. pays .25 cents on the dollar, investor pays 100 cents on the dollar. Who gets the renter?

Not the investor. Housing is done. Take care of your cave and that is it.

Uchtdorf's picture

There will be no healing in the housing market. We're going to war, War!, I say. Millions, if not billions of people will die. Empty houses will be as plentiful as broken seashells on the beach.

Moneyswirth's picture

Did anyone see Obamao's Hollywood produced 'documentary' about how fucking great he is?  If you did, was either the parabolic rise in fuel or the cratering housing market covered in that film? 

Just curious.

The only thing propping up any sort of an implication of improving wealth in this country is the Fed's printing press.  This provides a modicum of perceived 'wealth'.  Anything else tried in the last four years has been a complete and utter failure.  Eventually, even the constant humming of the printing machine will cause the ugly dog of inflation to rear its ugly head.

The gas station I keep my eye on near my home offered $3.59 gas this morning--it offered $3.49 just a few days ago.  The  highest I've seen here in my part of Jersey is $3.79.  Sunday I filled up my car and it cost me over $55.  I don't recall ever paying that much to fill up a tank of gas.

This morning I went to pick up the local paper at the 7-11 there was a sign at the coffee section stating that they will be charging more.  Sorry middle class suckers.  No inflation?  Pfft.  My ass.

How's that hope? And by the way you're getting less and less change. 

Enjoy the recovery...

Quinvarius's picture

In Socialist AmeriKa, tank of gas fills you...with rage.

Vince Clortho's picture

" ... Eventually, even the constant humming of the printing machine will cause the ugly dog of inflation to rear its ugly head."

Eventually ... ?

Sudden Debt's picture

Why live in a house when you can live in a tent right?


Moneyswirth's picture

A tent, or cardboard.


chinaboy's picture

700 K vs. 48.1 K? Why they don't use bigger seasonal adjustment? Like 48.1 billion. That way, housing market will be totally adjusted.

SheepDog-One's picture

698K Feb new housing starts? Nothing but a total lie.


memyselfiu's picture

Ah yes the poster child for the low corporate tax jurisdiction. We should all strive to be as corporate friendly as Ireland has been! Then you too could get two houses for the price of one!

apberusdisvet's picture

The taxpayer will own the majority of housing by 2020, (after the final dissolution of F&F, FHA) with the gubmint in total control over just another facet of your life.

ivars's picture

I did not put the new actual Silver price chart into this- everyone knows how it looks 1 month since Feb 22 when this chart was last refreshed with actual data. Accuracy today relative to both red and green charts is about 99,5%. I  am somewhat inclined to see the raise following green line, not the red one. Though the top of both happens in the same time and about the same value 70-90 USD at Oct-Nov 2012 (see links to longer term charts below this chart): - press the right button, View image, zoom in to see dates and values:

Green Oct 17th 2011:

Red March 13, 2011:

chunga's picture

In the Real Estate hay day, back when they weren't making any more Real Estate, money started looking for people. To this day, some remain stubbornly reliant on an obtuse and incomplete interpretation of the "Community Reinvestment Act" as a convenient neon red-herring on which to affix blame. To suggest (over and over again) that any politician, regardless of spot or stripe, would give a fig, lift a finger, bat a lash, or make anything more affordable for anyone other than themselves is mere cacophony.

Some will even put forth the equally absurd notion that lenders were strong-armed into making loans for fear of lawsuits from powerhouse organizations like ACORN. (Banks afraid of cute)

The money was looking for people for one reason and one reason only.

I've said this before (aided by the clarity of hindsight) but the sociopaths had the vision to see this coming and acted accordingly. Presently, there isn't anything left to steal except debt.

How do you steal money from those who don't have any?

Simple. Just give it to them.

This seemingly chivalrous and selfless act of making the "American Dream" of home ownership more affordable to minorities or the otherwise disenfranchised was actually anything but chivalrous and selfless.

It was the perfect crime.

While keenly focusing on the fact that no one was making more Real Estate, it was triple A safe to assume the value of Real Estate would never do anything but go up. This "conventional wisdom" often called "speculative" nowadays, was repeatedly and professionally affirmed by experts in the form of property appraisals.

The zenith of all this chivalry is the appraisal and exemplifies the brilliance of the perfect crime.

Precisely at that moment, the vaporous, phantom, wealth of debt is born. Hold on to your hats all you disenfranchised minorities, you will soon be disemboweled. The money has found you and welcomes you aboard the "American Dream".

Fast forward...

There is actually plenty of Real Estate and it never does anything but go down in value. In keeping with the state of affairs we find ourselves in; we are forced to re-examine the definition of "value".

Once upon a time, the value of something was a direct corollary to what someone would pay for it.

Not anymore. Value is defined in a cell on a spreadsheet[s] and that never budges.

Enter the Credit Default Swap.

As chivalrous as the lenders were, way back when they weren't making more Real Estate, they had a sneaky suspicion the disenfranchized minorities they tried to help were secretly chiseling deadbeats. They had to buy insurance in case they didn't pay back the captured amount in all those spreadsheet cell[s].

Buying and selling this insurance was especially lucrative and worked like a charm for a few, but was really bad for many. You see, there was never any intention by these insurance companies to actually pay, much less have the ability to pay any of these claims. The only logical and prudent thing to do, absent any other possible option, was to once again foist this on the sap of last resort, the taxpayer.

Fortunately for TBTF, the taxpayers are busy pointing fingers at each other, exactly as planned. They are laughing at us. Oh, and as a bonus, all this chivalry has created clouds over millions and millions of titles and wild deeds as far as the eye can see.

Uchtdorf's picture

chunga, your writing is sheer genius. Share more.

Village Smithy's picture

"How do you steal money from those who don't have any?

Simple. Just give it to them."

IMHO, this simple, elegant and truthful quote epitomises ZH commentary. Nicely done.


chunga's picture

This was actually purloined by chunga from his alter ego "Capt. Jack".

Just one of the funny things about the Internet; one can change personalities with one swift click.

We deny eveything we say.


It's actually not a very funny story. It entails a family who's home was auctioned off in foreclosure despite a standing Federal Judge's "Stay Order" preventing BAC, Option One, and AHMSI from doing so. They just elected to do it anyway, despite the Order. Defendant's counsel was reminded of the Order and warned to cease and decist. They denied receipt of the warning, and claimed to have forgotten about the Order...unfortunately for them "Exhibit A" showed the time stamped return receipt as "read".

PDF court files and some half-assed attempts at being the inimitable Banzai are good reasons why I'm a mere ZH mortal and not permitted to embed images.

There is some good news in the story. The homeowner's counsel is suing the defendants' with full vigor and is likely to prevail.

azzhatter's picture

those multi families will soon be referred to as government housing units or maybe housing camps

gookempucky's picture

Would not be suprised if up to 50% is subsidized housing--- kc metro has probably built 100 single family (front to back splits/with 2 car garage)-my brotherinlaw has installed the flooring in about 30  subsidized homes during the past 3 months=section 8 grant currency units.

digitlman's picture

CNN Money headline:  "Permits at strongest level since financial meltdown. Housing starts strong despite slight drop."

My headline:  Fuck you, CNN Money!


Moneyswirth's picture

CNN Money is like the USA Today of 'news' 


BLOTTO's picture

CNN is setting the masses up -again - with lies and perversions.

At least this is bullish for us Gold & Silver bugs.

AcidRastaHead's picture

Hey! a lot of banksters have worked hard to finance that hole in the ground!

kito's picture

House prices will drop to cash values......Ben has given up on the mortgage market...even he sees you can't resuscitate a cold corpse.......

cnhedge's picture

that's right, qe3 will be there to help the housing market.