Housing construction essentially stable in January

Housing construction essentially stable in January

 – by New Deal democrat

I’m on the road, so I need to keep this brief, but fortunately I can give you the essence of this most important housing report with little difficulty.

Mortgage rates have declined about 1% from their peak during the autumn, and are about equal to where they were one year ago:

As a result, we should expect some improvement in the housing market from its worst levels. And that’s what we got.

Housing permits declined 1.5% for the month, but are about average compared with the past 10 months. The more significant single family permits increased 1.6% to their highest level in over 18 months. The much more noisy starts decreased a sharp -14.8% for the month, to a level equivalent to their worst in the past year:

Because starts lag permits slightly, I do not think this decline presages a trend, but rather is mainly noise.

Housing units under construction, which are a measure of the “actual” economic activity in the new home market, declined -0.4%, but are only down -2.2% from their peak one year ago. Single family units declined -9,000, but multi family units increased 5,000:

To signify a likely recession, units under construction would have to decline at least -10%, and needless to say, we’re not there. With permits having increased off their bottom, I am not expecting such a 10% decline in construction to materialize. 

Housing construction changes little in December; but increased mortgage rates from H2 2023 have not yet been digested, Angry Bear, by New Deal democrat.