by Rick Delgado
on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 at 12:29pm.
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... If Apollinaire were alive today (he died in 1918), he might suggest we pause now and be happy, given that September Housing Starts were up 15% (11% for single-family starts) to an 872,000 annual rate. From a year ago, starts are up 34.8%, as builders are starting homes at the fastest pace since July 2008. Building permits for future construction were up 11.6% in September to an 894,000 annual rate. The total number of homes under construction is up 21% over a year ago, gaining 13 months in a row, which hasn't happened since the building boom of 2003–2004.
No wonder the NAHB index of builder confidence went to 41, its highest level since mid-2006. But until the index goes above 50, builders who say they're confident remain in the minority. Lest the rest of us get too confident, September Existing Home Sales dipped 1.7% to 4.75 million units annually, while the median price fell a bit.Yet sales are up 11% and prices are up 11.3% from a year ago. The inventory of existing homes dropped to its lowest level since March 2005 with the months' supply at 5.9. Experts feel the housing market is at the start of a slow recovery.