Examining the Housing Permits Stats

The St. Louis Federal Reserve this week reported the number of housing permits issued. The coverage of the report stressed the four-year high that was reached in housing permits. Closer examination of the numbers shows that the absolute number of issued permits is still below the number of permits issued coming out of recessions going back to 1960. In other words, less permits are being issued now than ever before, as far back as the fed keeps numbers, even with the nascent recovery in the economy and the housing sector. Could this be due to fewer available prime sites? Is the sector in permanent decline, or will holders of those prime sites be richly rewarded?

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