Back to top

Real Time Insight


We found out this morning the housing market is continuing to look stronger.  Housing starts are up +24% from this time last year, but are still well below a bubble peak near 2.3 million units in 2006.

First, the leading housing indicator, which is building permits, was up:

The government reported Wed. Feb. 20 that building permits, a sign of future demand, rose +1.8% in January to a rate of 925,000 -- the highest rate since June 2008. Permits for single-family homes rose +1.9% to a rate of 584,000.  Permits for structures with two or more units (aka apartments) increased +1.5% to a rate of 341,000.

Key Facts

  • 56% of single-family permits are started in the same month, while
  • 62% of apartments are started within that month or the one following.
  • 71% of single-family houses are completed in six months.
  • Only 20% of apartments are completed in six months.

Next, coincident indicators, single family and apartment starts, were mixed:

Starts for single-family homes ticked up +0.8% to a rate of 613,000, the highest rate since July 2008.

But starts for structures with two or more units (aka apartments) fell -24% in January to a rate of 277,000.

Finally, the lagging indicator, construction, was down:

Led lower by apartments, construction on new U.S. homes fell -8.5% in January to 890,000 (SAAR) units, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Forecasters thought January's starts would decline to 914,000 units. 

This was a miss.

On the brighter side, a preliminary December construction estimate of 954,000 units, on lower apartment construction, was revised up to 973,000.

More apartments were completed in December than thought, and this pulled down the January construction numbers.

What is your take on these numbers?  Is this going to help or hurt the housing stocks and the overall market?




Just Released: 5 Stocks to Double

Today, you are invited to download a free Special Report from Zacks Investment Research. It reveals five moves that could gain +100% and more in the next 12 months:

One is a "boring" business delivering blistering growth. Another is a red-hot oil and gas producer set to surge on a drilling breakthrough. Still another, an online payment provider, ignited a 53% sales explosion during the past year.

Close This Panel X

Please login to or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research


Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to

Top Zacks Features

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
PLANAR SYST… PLNR 4.44 +5.21%
BITAUTO HOL… BITA 81.71 +5.12%
CTPARTNERS… CTP 16.66 +4.26%
CHINA BIOLO… CBPO 47.91 +3.30%
MALLINCKROD… MNK 72.94 +2.85%