Mortgage applications turned lower this week after a counter trend move in most of October and November. The data shows no sign of a reversal of the downtrend in purchase applications. December homebuilder survey data released today also shows no movement off rock bottom levels.
Likewise for November housing starts, although the media, as usual, reported just the seasonally adjusted number which magically turned a decline from already rock bottom levels into an increase. Actual starts were down and were worse than last year in November. I ran a chart of single family housing starts versus new home sales, and was surprised to see that they show an inventory build that isn’t showing up in the Commerce Department’s monthly data on new home sales. One of these series is wrong.
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