Today’s release of August housing starts added one more month’s worth of data to a disappointing pattern. We continue to bounce along the bottom. Total housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 per year, with single family starts running at 417,000. Housing starts have been stuck at this low level, with little movement up or down since the April 2010 expiration of the homebuyer tax credit.
The litany of impediments to a more robust recovery remains the same: tight credit for both builders and consumers, a glut of foreclosed units depressing prices, faulty appraisals, and weak consumer demand due to the fragile state of the economic recovery, particularly the persistently high unemployment rate.