That today’s housing starts and permits data disappointed once again (in the case of starts this was the 5th miss in a row) is not surprising: with Starts printing at 891K, this was a miss to “expectations” of 917K, as analyst expectations for the “recovery” begin to be repriced in the face of rising rates. There was of course spin: the prior month was revised from 896K to 883K so the mainstream media could at least present the disappointing number as an increase. This was also the biggest 5 month drop in starts since February 2011. Furthermore, when looking at the internals one thing is obvious – the main driver of the non-existent housing recovery: Wall Street (and foreign)-based, REO-to-Rent subsidized investors in rental properties are finally leaving the scene, as demand for multi-family, aka rental units, dropped from 278K annualized to 252K, a far cry from the recent highs of 356K in March and back to a level first crossed (to the upside) back in September of 2012. This is a confirmation that absent a renewed plunge in rates, the downtrend in housing units is here to stay as the marginal dollar is quickly leaving.
Elsewhere, in the world of permits, the number was not only a major miss, down at 918K vs 950K expected, but substantially lower too, sliding from 943K to an upward revised 954K. This matched the lowest number of permits since April, and is higher than only
To summarize: starts.
and still think rates don’t matter?