It's the jobs, stupid?
Excluding housing-related sectors, private payrolls increased to 99.5 million jobs in January, exceeding the previous high of 99.4 million in January 2008, the RBC study says.That shows those industries haven't completely recovered, because their job numbers should be even higher in a healthy market in light of population growth.
Economist Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight predicts housing starts of 966,000 this year, up from 781,000 in 2012. But he doesn't expect a normal level of 1.5 million starts until 2015 because high mortgage debt and strict lending standards are still crimping growth.
Zandi [Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody's Analytics] says rising home prices and falling mortgage delinquencies will open the home-lending spigots much sooner. Next year, he expects 1.7 million housing starts — and much stronger job growth.