Context is king. Week-in, week-out, we are reassured by whoever the next talking-head is that the recovery-meme is alive-and-well (despite consensus GDP expectations continued to slide for 2014), and that housing is back. The fact that mortage applications inched 0.2% higher on the week (as mortgage rates briefly dropped below 4% for a day - back at 4.20% now) is extrapolated into full recovery when the following chart perhaps provides a little clearer picture of just what has happened in this 'recovery'.
As Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone notes,
Most of the recent strength in housing and construction has been in the multi-unit category; first time home buyers are dealing with lofty college loan burdens and lackluster real incomes, which makes purchasing a big ticket item like a house difficult.
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But don't let the facts (or NAHB's hope) get in the way of perceived reality