Can’t wait to see how the press tries to spin this.
Here are the February housing industry numbers released this morning by the Census Bureau:
- Housing starts, seasonally adjusted — annual rate of 479,000. That’s the second-lowest number on record; only April 2009, at 477,000, was lower.
- Housing starts, not seasonally adjusted — 32,700. That’s the worst February on records going back to 1959, is also the second-lowest number on record (only January 2009, at 31,900, was lower), and trailed February 2010 and February 2009 by 20% and 18%, respectively.
- Building permits, seasonally adjusted — annual rate of 517,000, the lowest number in 51 years of recordkeeping.
- Building permits, not seasonally adjusted — 35,900. Lowest ever, for the second straight month (January’s number was 36,000). February 2011 trailed February 2010 and 2009 by 19% and 8%, respectively.
- Units completed, seasonally adjusted — annual rate of 581,000. That’s better than January’s all-time low in 42 years of recordkeeping, but is far lower than any number posted before July 2010.
- Units completed, not seasonally adjusted — 39,700. That was up from January’s all-time low of 35,100, but it trailed February 2010 and 2009 by 13% and 30%, respectively.
The industry continues to contract. Government policies and programs have everything to do with it.
Meanwhile, the administration is focused on shaking down home lenders, and appears to have no interest in undoing its interventionist damage.
Perhaps the rest of the economy is recovering, but in housing, it’s still “Rebound? What Rebound?”
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: Cover your ears first. …
… Okay. The warning came because the following graph found at Zero Hedge is screaming “Rebound? What Rebound?” —