Housing Datathon: Housing Starts, Building Permits, Pending Home Sales

This is part 1 of a DV housing datathon. I'm going to dig into housing and housing related data on my next few posts to show what's going on in the industry and to see if we are at the bottom.

Housing Starts/Building Permits: The total Housing Starts (HOUST) chart is still in a downtrend however you could say the pace is getting less worse. Housing Starts for 1 Unit structures (single family homes) actually increased 2.8% from March. It is brushing up against downtrend resistance so watch out for a break there and possible leadership. The data point that killed HOUST was apartment building starts. Also building Permits hit a new low.

Total Housing Starts (Stlouisfed.org)

Housing Starts (1 Unit) (Stlouisfed.org)

Construction Permits (Stlouisfed.org)

Pending Home Sales: Realtor.org publishes the Pending Home Sales Index which, in the past, was a decent leading indicator for closings (but watch video with Chief Economist at NAR). The trend has been UP since January 2009.

I was able to embed a RealtorTV video with Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR. He said in the past pending was a good indicator of closing but that relationship has broken down. There is a longer lag time between pending and closing due to the tight mortgage market, failed closings at last minute and long distressed sales. He also speaks about Prime loans having trouble and foreclosures/delinquencies rising. He thinks foreclosures will rise in 2009, so will buyers come in to soak them up?

To be continued, while drinking German Red Bull Cola..