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Housing Data Sends More Mixed Messages

In August, the housing data looked worse than it really was as the number of multi-family units fell drastically and took housing data in a generally negative direction. The good news that was hidden in that data was that single family homes had seen an increase for five straight months. The bottom line was that the decline in overall new housing starts was not as bad as it appeared given the motivation that exists for the construction of the two kinds of housing. This month the opposite reaction has been noted. The number of new housing starts was up but this time the increase was attributed to the increase in apartments while new single family home construction fell for the first time since April. The sense is that the housing market has indeed reached the bottom and that progress will be manifested in the weeks and months to come but it is just as clear that the damage done to the sector has been extensive and that it will be some time before anything approaching normalcy will reoccur.  The overall conclusion is that the housing sector has stabilized but at a pretty low level. This leaves the market as a whole in more flux than usual.