David Rosenberg evidently agrees with Meredith Whitney that you should be pessimistic about housing.
He takes a look at the recent data in this morning’s Breakfast With Dave note.
The NAHB housing index dropped two points to 15 in March despite government
resources that have been expended to put a floor under the residential real
estate market. This attests to the view that the problems to the sector are more
secular in nature than they are cyclical.
Of major concern was the slide in the homebuyer traffic index, from 12 to 10 in
March — during the era of the green shoots last spring and summer, this
component surged from 13 to 17. Only three other times in history has this
measure been this low.
Prospects for sale activity over the next six months also declined two points to
24 in March and this subindex leads new home sales by six months with a 76%
The S&P 500 homebuilding group has managed to rally 17% so far this year or a
1,400bps outperformance vis-à-vis the overall market. There is scant a sector
that deserves such status when one takes the fundamental housing backdrop
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