If recovery's here, where's the new construction?

  • The absolute construction starts numbers are big -- a combined total annualized 1,099,000 new units -- but roughly the same as rock-bottom in each of the last five recessions.
  • No inventory is a reasonable situation early in a recovery after a bad bust. It takes a while to get the engine going -- labor, land and materials.
  • Sustained increases in price should have fixed all of the usual problems and have not.

My beloved business partner of 20 years kept a few cartoons on her office door. The top one had a living room scene with a middle-aged couple on a sofa and opposite chair. The wife is speaking, and her caption: “Harold, I married you for your money. Where is it?”