EconoPlay one week before a "surprise" surge in December housing starts:
New home orders saw a surprising spike in December and early January, suggesting housing could be on an even bigger roll than conventional wisdom would suggest.
That builders would report improvement over October or November was especially striking given the normal holiday lull in December and that, this year, it’s a real winter!
Did economists misread the strong numbers last winter by giving too much credit to mild weather and not enough credit to an actual housing turnaround? There is nothing particularly mild about this winter and yet the market is behaving the same way.
Perhaps the housing market is simply moving irrespective of weather or other seasonal issues, as fence-sitters come to realize they better buy now before prices and interest rates go higher.
EconoPlay also correctly called for a better than expected holiday season!
Early media reports of a weak and disappointing holiday are probably premature and exaggerated – and really no shopper was guided by a sense of dread over the fiscal cliff.
But the cliff probably did scare retailers into keeping inventories tight, and you can’t have a blowout season if you’re running out of things to sell midway through.