Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Downturn in housing permits and starts in May

An across the board downturn for housing permits and starts in May Housing permits and starts declined across the board in May. In the past year there has been a unique divergence between permits and starts due to construction supply shortages.  This has been reflected in the number of housing units authorized but not started […]

Housing permits and starts: still an economic positive – for the moment

Housing permits and starts: still an economic positive – for the moment As you know, I consider housing, and in particular single-family housing permits, one of the very best long leading indicators for the economy. In the past year, however, there has been a unique divergence between housing permits and housing starts, necessitating some adjustments.  […]

New Housing Starts and Building Permits Rose in August

New Housing Starts and Building Permits Rose in August on Increased Apartment Construction, Commenter and Blogger RJS, MarketWatch 666 Microsoft Word – newresconst_auto_text_202108.docx (census.gov), The August report on New Residential Construction (pdf) from the Census Bureau indicated that their widely watched estimate of new housing units that were started during the month was at a seasonally adjusted […]

Housing permits continue decline in June; more challenging YoY comparisons ahead

Housing permits continue decline in June; more challenging YoY comparison First, a brief comment about the NBER’s declaration yesterday that the COVID recession ended in April 2020. I am not surprised at all that they chose that date. It has been clear for a year that the trough in economic activity across the board was […]

May housing permits and starts continue down from recent peak

May housing permits and starts continue down from recent peak In May housing permits (blue in the graph below), including the least volatile single-family permits (red, right scale), continued to decline from their January peak. Meanwhile, the more volatile and slightly lagging housing starts (green) increased, but remained below their March peak: The level of […]

April housing permits and starts: a pullback from peak, but no recessionary signal UPDATED

April housing permits and starts: a pullback from peak, but no recessionary signal UPDATED The monthly statistics on housing permits and starts, reported this morning, were mixed, as permits increased slightly and starts declined: The less volatile single-family permits also declined slightly.

March housing permits and starts – don’t get too excited

March housing permits and starts – don’t get too excited Don’t get too excited about this morning’s big jump in housing starts for March. In the first place, it wasn’t confirmed in either total or single-family permits, which both remain down from December and January, and the latter of which is the least of all […]