Every few months, we are reminded that the economic recovery has been anemic up to now, but next year, it will be different. In case you missed it, over at the NYT’s Upshot, Neil Irwin took a look at the latest trends in housing and provided a sobering corrective to this conventional optimism:
The number of housing units that builders started work on fell 9.3 percent in June, to an 893,000 annual rate. The number of housing permits issued by local governments, a forward-looking measure that government statisticians consider less prone to measurement error, fell 4.2 percent. Forecasters had expected both numbers to rise.
For context, economists think the United States needs to build something on the order of 1.5 million new housing units a year to keep up with a growing population and older homes falling into disrepair. The nation hasn’t consistently built more than 1 million a year since the 2008 recession. Instead, home-building activity has mostly been bouncing around in the 900,000 to 1 million range since the start of 2013, not exhibiting any clear signs of acceleration.
This via Kevin Drum who also posted the graph featured here.