Just Look At How Few Houses We’re Building

Given the monthly barrage of housing statistics, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Here’s the big picture:

The house-building industry in the United States is as dead as a doornail.

Here’s a 12-year chart of housing starts, via Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust. That noise you hear every month (up! down!) is the industry bumping along the bottom.

Housing Starts, May 2011

[credit provider=”Northern Trust” url=”http://ntrs.com/pws/jsp/display2.jsp?XML=pages/nt/0601/1138283678319_6.xml”]

The good news is that the fewer houses we build, the sooner we’ll fill up all the empty houses we already have. And when we do that, finally, house prices should stabilise and start to trend upwards again.