Housing Recovery? Yellen, we have a problem. Housing Starts for February collapsed 17% - this is the biggest MoM percentage drop since February 2011, and at -184K units down, this was the single biggest monthly decline in absolute terms since January 2007! At 897k SAAR, this is the first sub-900k print since September 2013 and biggest miss since Feb 2007. Multi-family starts are the lowest since June 2014. The collapse was dominated by the Northeast (-56.5%) and Midwest (-37%) so it must be the weather, right? Not so fast, The West region saw starts collapse 18.2%.
California ("West") housing was crushed by heavy, heavy snow:
Multi-family starts are the lowest since June 2014.
There was one silver lining: hedge funds are rushing to take out permits on rental housing which soared from 371K to 445K. At this rate there will be more rental housing built in the US than single family. Assuming, of course, any of these permits actually become "starts."
Charts: Bloomberg, ZH