New Housing Starts measure the number of new homes entering the construction phase.If you only read headlines this past week, you may have missed two very important points.

The first story relates to Housing Starts.  Housing Starts measure the number of new homes entering the construction phase.  The headline blared “Housing starts plunge to 16-year low“.

If you are a homeowner, this is terrific news. 

Because home values are governed by Supply and Demand, fewer homes built means that home demand has a chance to rebalance against home supply. 

This places upward pressure on home prices nationwide.

When Housing Starts drop, it says more about weakness in builder sentiment that it does about the state of the housing nationwide.  Housing Starts are at all-time lows because builders want to sell the product they have before putting more product on the market.

The second story was yesterday’s New Home Sales figures.

The headline read that “US new-home sales slide in record plunge” but, again, let’s look a little deeper.

New Home Sales are defined as homes that are newly built.  Stated differently, it specifically counts the number of homes sold that were once classified as “Housing Starts”.

If Housing Starts falls, therefore, we can expect New Home Sales to fall, too.  The two data points count the same housing inventory at two different points along a timeline.

These two stories are related but neither should be construed as bad news.  As builders cut back on the supply of homes, it should create an increase in relative demand.

For homeowners, this is a positive development.

(Image courtesy: New York Times)

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