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New home sales make it clear: Housing is in a recession – HousingWire

Tuesday’s report on new home sales came in as a miss of estimates and prior revisions were all negative. This data line confirms what we all know to be the case: The housing market, at least as it relates to construction, is i…….

Tuesday’s report on new home sales came in as a miss of estimates and prior revisions were all negative. This data line confirms what we all know to be the case: The housing market, at least as it relates to construction, is in a recession. 

What I have always tried to do with my economic work is to connect the dots or show a pathway to why something could happen. Since the summer of 2020, I have genuinely believed the housing market could change once the 10-year yield broke over 1.94%. However, for the new home sales sector, it would put their business model at risk.

We talked about this in March, and even last year, when I wrote about the problem with the housing construction boom premise. “I don’t expect a boom in housing construction. Builders learned their lesson in the mid-2000s and understand that it is not in their best interst to create more residential real estate beyond the standard demand curve. They also learned their lesson quickly in 2018 as mortgage rates at 5% were too high for construction growth.”

Mortgage rates have risen, and the builders have many homes under construction, so they’re going to stall things until they know they can sell their homes. This is why I raised the fifth recession red flag in June. In reality, everything looks normal as long as you know that the builders don’t build homes for society; they build homes to make money.

I addressed this last summer in an article titled: Why we can’t build our way out of a hot housing market: “During the previous economic expansion from 2008 to 2019, the housing market was subject to the constant refrain of build more homes. Building more homes, it was said, would solve all sorts of social problems, from making homeownership more affordable to ending homelessness.

“Today we are perhaps less prone to believing that a glut of new homes is the panacea society is waiting for, but the siren call to build more homes continues to be broadcast by a host of housing pundits and social do-gooders. The problem with this scenario is that social do-gooders don’t build homes; builders build houses, and they build homes for money, not to cure societal ills.”

The previous economic expansion (2008-2019) had the weakest new home sales recovery; thus, we had the weakest housing construction cycle ever. That makes sense to me; builders missed sales estimates in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Then in 2018, they had a supply spike as mortgage rates reached 5%. In response, they stalled construction for 30 months. Today, rates are even higher.

It is what it is: the housing dilemma we live with in America. If the builders need …….

Source: https://www.housingwire.com/articles/new-home-sales-make-it-clear-housing-is-in-a-recession/

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