How Does an Excess Supply Get Remedied?

By: Paul Kasriel | Mon, Jun 15, 2009
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By allowing prices to fall and by cutting production. This remedy applies to everything from hods to houses. It is well documented that the prices of houses have plummeted. What may be less well known is that newly-started production of single-family homes has come back into equilibrium with the sales of new single-family homes - at least through April. Chart 1 documents that starts of single-family homes ran at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 368,000 in April, a touch above sales of new single-family homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 352,000. Chart 2 shows that in recent months the ratio of single-family house starts to sales of new single family home sales is at it lowest level in 47 years. This is not to gloss over the fact that there still is a large supply overhang of new homes for sale that either have been completed or are under construction (see Chart 3). But again, markets work. The housing market is moving toward a new equilibrium with production being curtailed and prices falling.

Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

 


 

Paul Kasriel

Author: Paul Kasriel

Paul L. Kasriel
Director of Economic Research
The Northern Trust Company
Economic Research Department
Positive Economic Commentary
"The economics of what is, rather than what you might like it to be."
50 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60675

Paul Kasriel

Paul joined the economic research unit of The Northern Trust Company in 1986 as Vice President and Economist, being named Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research in 2000. His economic and interest rate forecasts are used both internally and by clients. The accuracy of the Economic Research Department's forecasts has consistently been highly-ranked in the Blue Chip survey of about 50 forecasters over the years. To that point, Paul received the prestigious 2006 Lawrence R. Klein Award for having the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip survey participants for the years 2002 through 2005. The accuracy of Paul's 2008 economic forecast was ranked in the top five of The Wall Street Journal survey panel of economists. In January 2009, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes cited Paul as one of the few who identified early on the formation of the housing bubble and foresaw the economic and financial market havoc that would ensue after the bubble inevitably burst. Through written commentaries containing his straightforward and often nonconsensus analysis of economic and financial market issues, Paul has developed a loyal following in the financial community. The Northern's economic website was listed as one of the top ten most interesting by The Wall Street Journal. Paul is the co-author of a book entitled Seven Indicators That Move Markets.

Paul began his career as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He has taught courses in finance at the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Paul serves on the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The information herein is based on sources which The Northern Trust Company believes to be reliable, but we cannot warrant its accuracy or completeness. Such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.

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