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Housing Market is no "Field of Dreams"

August 21, 2008
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Kevin Costner got by quite nicely with the “If you build it, they will come” concept in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. Not so with the current housing market. Recent statistics released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that the rate of single-family home starts dropped to 3% in July, the lowest in over 17 years.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB, www.nahb.org) is a cup-half-full organization, though, and they’re focusing on the good news: “Though some may be inclined to focus only on the negative angle of this report, three is definitely a bright side,” said Sandy Dunn, NAHB president. “The actions that home builders are taking right now to keep a lid on new production are slowly but surely helping to bring supply and demand back into balance and put us on the road to a much healthier housing market.”

“The single-family numbers in this report are very much in sync with what home builders have been saying in our latest surveys,” said David Seiders, chief economist for the NAHB. “While there is definitely a sense that we are nearing the bottom of the downswing in home sales, builders are not ready to start ratcheting up production just yet – nor should they be, until after sales begin to rebound and the inventory overhang is reduced further. We anticipate that the new first-time home buyer tax credit will help bring about that rebound, and NAHB’s forecast projects that the ongoing contraction in housing starts will end in the first quarter of 2009.”
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