The housing market showed signs of recovery in late 2011, beginning with a sharp upturn in housing stocks in October of that year. This was followed by a small upturn in housing starts and home sales starting in early 2012. While Wall Street economists and the media are avidly reporting that a full-fledged housing market recovery is under way, my view has been that what looks like a “recovery/bull market,” is more akin to a “dead cat” bounce and that the bear market in housing has a lot further to go to the downside.
With that in mind, I wanted to discuss some indicators I like to follow that, if they become full-blown fundamental trends, could be signifying the start of the next leg down in housing.
The first sign is housing starts. While the current crop of new and existing home sales reports hitting the tape are still showing some growth, assuming the seasonal adjustments are accurate, housing starts appear to be signaling possible future weakness. Housing starts should reflect a new homebuilder’s expectations of future sales. April’s starts were 853,000, which was 12% below the number expected by Wall Street economists and 16.5% below March’s revised number. When the housing starts for April were released, it was also reported that the March number was revised lower from 1.036 million to 1.021 million. Not as strong as originally reported.
Troubling Signs In The Housing Market – Seeking Alpha.