March data for housing starts, building permits, and existing home sales came out this week. All three economic indicators continue to point to a housing market that has yet to enter a sustained recovery. New housing starts and building permits both ticked up in March, but failed to recover the ground given up in February. Existing home sales also ticked up in March, but remain subdued. Total existing home inventory at the end of March rose to 3.55 million homes—an 8.4 month supply at current sales rates. The median price of a single family was $160,500 in March—down 5.3% from March of last year. With 40% of existing home sales classified as distressed, the downtrend in prices may persist.
Jeremy Jones, CFA
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