US housing starts stabilise

Housing apr09.jpg

As the blog had hoped, US housing starts have stabilised in recent weeks. As the chart from Wall Street Journal shows, single-family home starts in March remained at c360,000 for the 3rd month running.

Equally, the National Association of Home Builders’ index improved slightly from 9 in March to 14 in April.

But starts are still 80% off their March 2006 peak, and just 50% of the March 2008 level. Meanwhile, foreclosures continue to rise, whilst average prices are down 29% since their 2006 peak.

It would therefore be very optimistic to believe that the current period of stability might be any more than the start of a bottoming process. The chances of it leading to a full-strength V-shaped recovery by H2 look remote.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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