Homebuilding Goes Down While Economy Gathers Strength

Besides, it was another slow day on Wall Street. Investors are still mulling the news. As we all know, the recession is over. But… What kind of strange recovery is this?

A survey showed that only 1 in 10 workers say his income is going up. This is the lowest reading since 1946.

Meanwhile, the news two days ago was that homebuilding took a dive in October. Work began on 11% fewer houses than the month before. On multi-family dwellings, the figures were worse – down 35%.

Why would homebuilding go down when the economy is supposedly gathering strength? Well, builders were wondering what would happen when they finished the houses. The new house tax credit was due to expire; they weren’t sure the politicians would be witless enough to renew it.

They need not have worried. Give the politicos a chance to do something stupid and they will come through every time. Since the end of October, Congress passed and President Obama signed an extension of the housing credit. Until next April, at least, first time buyers will get an $8,000 credit.

You’d think that would have revived animal spirits a bit in the residential construction industry. But today’s news tells us that mortgage applications are falling – even with lower interest rates.

How come interest rates are falling? Well, here again, we see the heavy hand of the feds. The “quantitative easing” has come to a halt…that is, the Fed is no longer buying US Treasury debt (it doesn’t need to). But its buying of mortgage backed securities continues. That program will last until March of next year.

Still…housing is not cooperating.

This news hasn’t had much impact on Wall Street. All that can be said is that investors have seemed to hesitate for the last couple of days.

Stocks fell softly yesterday, with the Dow down only 11 points. Oil stayed at $79. Gold rose to $1,141. And the euro remained at $1.49.

Investors must still believe in what The Washington Post calls a “lukewarm recovery.” It is like finding a body on the street. You feel for a pulse and discover that it has not quite reached room temperature. It is tepid… Not quite alive. Not quite dead.

Too close to the quick to bury…too close to the grave to boogaloo.

Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

Latest posts by Bill Bonner (see all)

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Homebuilding Goes Down While Economy Gathers Strength"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Ever watched a dead cat bounce?

Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to letters@marketsandmoney.com.au