Here is half a century of Housing Starts, both Seasonally adjusted and NSA. (lower chart is the annual rate of change)

Note that we are now in uncharted territory — new home starts have never fallen to these levels for as long as the Commerce Department has been tracking this data (since 1959).

Note also the magnitude of the drop — it is unprecedented, having easily surpassed the 1982 collapse, the present circumstances have now become slightly worse than the 1973-75 fall.

Astonishing . . .



Source: Ron Griess of The Chart Store


Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

21 Responses to “Total Housing Starts, 1959-2009”

  1. SWMOD52 says:

    This is promising, no? Actually this chart needs to go negative, ie we should start bull dozing some houses.

  2. I’d say we’re just about to 1975, it should start zooming back up soon, only to come crashing down again. It would be interesting to know what percent of population growth/household growth the housing starts represent, i.e., the demographics of 1975/76 regarding new households v housing starts compared to the demographics of 2008/9 regarding new households v housing starts.

    In the end, demand will determine the supply. As we recently learned, demand does not create its own supply.

  3. oops…shoulda said “supply does not create its own demand”…

  4. er…that should have been supply does not create its own demand…

  5. lalaland says:

    That’s a pretty top you’re wearing today Mr. Big Picture…

  6. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Buy now, or be priced out forever.

    Spring is here, and my business is picking up – that means I get to visit many new home developments here in the mid-Atlantic. Traffic is up. Sales are picking up. Builders are making concessions. I still hear the “you’ll get a $10 – 35K discount, as long as you use our preferred lender” line. The chicanery and mendacious fiscal fuckery never end. I feel sorry for these people. OTOH, I bite my tongue and collect my money (if y’all have any sense of my personality, you know that ain’t easy). At least it’s not condos.

    Time to fid a new business.

  7. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    Apr 16th 2009

    From The Economist print edition

    The social benefits of home ownership look more modest than they did and the economic costs much higher

    ..I tried to post this article from the Economist in an earlier thread, but Barry’s “Hal” I think ate the comment…anyway, it is from the pointyheads at the Economist giving the other side to home ownership in 2009…and I suppose more peeps may start to feel this way, which could also affect demand as our little introduction to socialism 101 continues…

    Or you could just call your house a bank…

  8. tagyoureit says:

    Supply does not permenantly create it’s own demand. We had quite a supply of cheap credit which created it’s own demand. And it would have continued, if it weren’t for those meddling kids and their dog!

    All of my “big” purchases over the last few years have been at 0% financing, I would have delayed purchase (saved then spend) were it not for the financing.

  9. DeDude says:

    >>According to Turner 16 of 19 major US banks are insolvent and if just 2 of the 19 goes belly up the FDIC funds will be used up<<

    And that would be the reason why we cannot face the music even if daddy always said you have to :-).

  10. Avl Dao says:

    Ahh, those two critical economic bookends: 1973-75 and 1982, the alpha and omega of our prior Structural Economic Transformation. Our Debt Unwind/ Deflation quagmire charts very well here in that housing starts graphic.

    The truth-n-reality are that 1) HH debt is at 370% of GDP, an unstable and unsustainable level; 2) there’s no effective mechanism for US wages to significantly rise against the tidal pull of globalized wages pressures; 3) the US GDP model is still structured to be 70% driven by consumer spending that is debt-fueled.
    This is more than a formula to prevent any sustainable recovery; it sets the stage for our continued involuntary passage – kicking & screaming – thru a Structural Economic Transformation akin to 1973-1982 in scale, scope and suffering, but not in specifics. This SET is different.
    This time we’re being pushed away from our ‘dying’ GDP model and our naive 25-yr experiment with operating a huge nation’s GDP via 70% from consumer debt and spending.
    But where are we being pushed to in this SET …and can we guide our trajectory?

  11. DeDude says:

    The good news is that all the excess of houses can now slowly be worked off. The bad news is that 1.5 mill X $200,000 = $ 300 Billion worth of housing assets are not being created this year.

  12. “Time to find a new business.”


    I’m in the business, too. My sentiments exactly. Everytime I dish out some more of Uncle Ben’s sugar I feel like I need a shower.

  13. hipster says:

    Kass calls this chart “Mustard Seeds?” One of these Run, Don;’t walk to read it…..

  14. call me ahab says:

    what do you sell Marcus

  15. Avl,

    this: “This SET is different.”

    is, no doubt true.

    this one, if we leave it run its course, will finish off the US & the U$D..

    pesky Boundaries, quaint ‘National’ currencies, they are so ‘Old World Chaos’
    and a page for the peasants:

  16. ervint says:

    we’re renting and happy! I’ll buy my next house AFTER prices start going up.

  17. VoiceFromTheWilderness says:

    Something looks off about that chart. The not seasonally adjusted curve looks like a low pass filtered version of the seasonally adjusted, which doesn’t quite make sense. It seems odd that it would be less noisy, and even odder that it would be shifted into the future relative to the seasonally adjusted. Or conversely, if the non-adjusted number is so smooth where is all the noise coming from in the seasonally adjusted number?

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