It may be because we’ve been on the front lines of the rug being pulled out from beneath us, but I’m hesitant to note improvements in the housing market. That said, August showed an increase in new home starts nationally and traditional media sources such as CNN are pointing to this as a signal “that home builders are regaining their confidence in the housing market recovery.
The US Census Bureau reported this morning that starts were up 1.5% from July having broken ground on 598,000 new homes despite forecasters predicting only 583,000. So this is the good news everyone’s all rallying around? 6,000 housing starts across the nation? For real? There are over 307 million Americans and we’re getting excited about 6,000 homes across 3.5 million square miles of land?
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but come on. Do I have to be the one to say this? Starts are down almost 30% from last August as are permits and we’re getting all pumped about 1%? Feels like spin to me.
Okayfine, NAHB said that homebuilder confidence is at its highest level since May 2008 but this indicator only shows me that people are tired of being kicked and tired of being scared and from what I witness on the frontlines, times are bad but sulking isn’t helping so people are choosing to chin up.
But Lani, the market has hit bottom, hooray!
Again, I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer but I call bullcrap. When I see us recoup that 30% I’ll get a little excited, but we’re being asked to put on a cheerleader skirt because we recouped ONE PERCENT but we’re still down 29. Whatev.
Look, if the Middle East wasn’t a ticking time bomb we’re being asked to avert our eyes from and the health bill wasn’t a complete clusterflip, the economy (which was the original emergency in November 2008, remember bailouts, uncle Sam swooping in to save everyone, promises of a steady unemployment rate and new job growth?) would still be the focus and maybe I could get excited about such a tiny blip on the radar.
For those of you that know me personally, you know that I’m a very laid back, forgiving person (almost to a fault) with a positive outlook but I have to ask you all to think critically when traditional media gets you all pumped up about a stat that really is crappy if you lift its skirt up. Remember when the world crucified former NAR Chief Economist David Lereah for pumping out fluff stats and cheerleading of a virtual bullet proof housing market? It feels like traditional media is doing the same as they politically spin, all in the name of “oooh, look how well the stimulus is working!”
We asked the question yesterday on Facebook, “So Ben [Bernanke] says the recession is over or nearly finished cooking, is that true- what do you see?” one commenter said, “I’m gonna say true because I want everyone to think that, because that is the real key to getting things moving again.”
As a nation, are we to join the Lereah cult?