Seeking Alpha
Debt, CFA, Portfolio manager, preferred stocks
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)  

The Census Bureau released their New Residential Construction data this morning with the following datapoints:

  • Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 755,000. This is 3.7 percent (±1.0%) below the revised May rate of 784,000, but is 19.3 percent (±1.8%) above the June 2011 estimate of 633,000.
  • Privately-owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000. This is 6.9 percent (±13.3%)* above the revised May estimate of 711,000 and is 23.6 percent (±16.8%) above the June 2011 rate of 615,000. Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 539,000; this is 4.7 percent (±10.1%)* above the revised May figure of 515,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 213,000.
  • Privately-owned housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 622,000. This is 2.6 percent (±12.5%) above the revised May estimate of 606,000 and is 7.2 percent (±13.2%)* above the June 2011 rate of 580,000. Single-family housing completions in June were at a rate of 470,000; this is 1.3 percent (±9.8%)* above the revised May rate of 464,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 134,000.

Looking at the permits:

(click to enlarge)

Starts:

(click to enlarge)

And finally, completions:

(click to enlarge)

There is nothing sexy here, just a slow grind upwards. The data continues to support the slow rise off the bottom in housing. While there is a decent supply of existing homes on the market, one would expect permits and starts to be stronger with rates where they are. While we are moving off the bottom, strength is not being seen.

While we are moving off the bottom, it does not seem strong enough to justify the performance of the homebuilders year-to-date:

LEN Chart

LEN data by YCharts

Bottom Line: Real estate is recovering, but slowly. With all the government intervention in this market, it has not moved the needle as much or as far as anyone would have hoped. I continue to believe that there is opportunity in the real estate sector, but aside from a per house basis, it is getting harder to find.

Source: Housing Starts: Slow And Steady