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US housing starts stabilise

Economic growth
By Paul Hodges on 18-Apr-2009
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.