On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that housing starts hit 1,615,000 for August and housing permits came in nicely at 1,728,000. These data lines beat expectations, and we had slight positive revisions to the previous months — overall, a good report on all fronts.
I have always been mindful that the month-to-month housing starts data can be wild, both positive and negative, so the trend is what matters the most. The movement says slow and steady is bringing sexy back to the housing data, and the wild action we saw due to COVID-19 is moderating.
Single-family starts have been slowing recently to move along with the moderation in new home sales and the rise in monthly supply.
However, a lot of housing data was going to moderate from the massive distortion COVID-19 created in the data lines. The key is always knowing the difference from fundamental weakness in the data and what is returning to a normal base from an extreme move. This is why I believed it was vital for me to discuss the fact that housing data was going to moderate and be careful not to read too much in that moderation.
Unfortunately, our housing crash bros sounded the alarm too early again when they saw the decline in many housing data lines from their recent COVID-19 peaks. This is very common as this sensitive lot tends to believe they’re Wile Coyote, and every weakness is sending our friend to hold up the sign that says That’s All Folks before falling down a cliff.