Housing starts remain high despite slower sales and traffic (as measured by the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index). The index has returned to more normal levels, as shown in blue below, yet starts (in red) have stayed relatively flat. We would like to believe starts will slow down, but a survey we conducted of 38 geographically diversified builders indicated that their business plans call for a 10 percent rise in starts this year. Our grading system of the economy and the housing market is a "bell curve" model, with statistics at an all-time high receiving an "A," statistics near the long-term average receiving a "C," and the worst times ever receiving an "F." In this grading system, it is OK to be a "C" student. Here is our current report card: Eco...
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