This isn't the real estate recovery you're looking for

Commentary: Spike in cash buyers is no reason for optimism

Economic optimists remain firmly in charge of markets and the media, and the search for data to support their view …

Wait! A not-news flash! The administration has at last released its Fannie-Freddie study, which contains three plans that will not be enacted. Nor will any until housing and the financial system recover — which they may or may not, given current underwriting.

Home mortgages total more than the national debt, and we don’t know what to do with that either. Bipartisan criticism of the government-sponsored entities (GSEs) will continue, as Fannie and Freddie are no longer sources of campaign cash. Back to actual news …

The optimists found some supporting evidence, but too close to the broad baseline of wobbles to confirm a self-sustaining recovery. Consumer credit card balances at last rose in December, for the first time since August 2008.

New claims for unemployment insurance likewise broke to a three-year low of 383,000 last week, but a slowdown in layoffs is not the same as hiring.