The Wall Street cheerleaders at CNBC would like you to believe new home sales surged to their highest level in more than 12 years in January. So you’ll all run out and buy housing stocks.
Before you bet the kids’ college fund, you better sit down and read the rest of this column. Because it’s all smoke and mirrors.
Times are still hard and things are not good.
On paper, we posted a seasonally adjusted, annualized sales rate of 764,000 new homes in January, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, straight sales were just 57,000.
That’s how many homes were actually sold before the economists started cooking the books for the habitual liar in the White House.
A monthly sales pace of 57,000 equals 684,000 annual sales over 12 months. That’s 35 percent less than the 1.054 million average for actual new home sales this country recorded each year from 2000 through 2006.
You know, before the housing bust precipitated The Great Recession our poor and middle class never recovered from?
There were a lot fewer Americans to make those purchases, too.
Does that sound like good times to you?
Because it sounds like hard times to me. And I used to cover new home sales, and more than 20 other economic indicators, for Bloomberg News in Washington, D.C.
New home sales are not adjusted for population growth and the U.S. has 10 percent more potential buyers now than in 2007. Thanks to a 30 million person increase in our population to 327 million. That’s equivalent to adding the combined populations of Greece, Portugal and Sweden.
Ergo, we’d need to sell 10 percent more new homes just to match the sales pace before The Great Recession on a per person basis. And we’re down by 35 percent.
Still want to run out and buy housing stocks?
Housing sales are weakest when poor weather makes people stay inside more. Like in the winter.
Economists use something called “seasonal adjustments” to compensate for those variations. When a bad winter, like the one we had last year, is followed by a mild winter, like the one we’re having now, those adjustments inflate sales pretty egregiously.
Which is how 57,000 actual new home sales in January turned into an annual pace of 684,000, and then morphed into a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 764,000 – which is the highest level since July 2007. On paper.
If only it were true. Sadly, it’s not. In fact, it’s not even accurate by economic standards.
Workers need a living wage and job security to make the transition from renting to owning. They don’t have that in this country any more thanks to the rich jackasses on Wall Street.
The painful truth is we’re living through a period of unprecedented job destruction as billionaire scumbags level our faltering middle class with the impoverished workers of China and India.
All the lipstick in the world is not going to make that pig look any prettier.
We’re also killing at least 40 million of our 131 million full-time jobs over the next decade via automation.
So, what’s changed since 2008?
You are being misled.
We’re probably in a recession right now, and if you buy housing stocks at the start of a recession you’re probably going to be very sorry.