Housing's double dip does not bode well for the already anemic economic recovery. People often play down the importance of housing sector and cited housing sector was just 7% of the national economy.
But according Ed. Leamer, a prominent economics professor at UCLA and an expert on business cycle, "Anyone playing down the importance of housing at this point in the business cycle is missing the point: Housing is the business cycle."
According to WSJ, the Commerce Department on Tuesday is expected to report new-home sales were roughly flat in April, at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 300,000. That is woeful by historical standards. Unless sales pick up materially this year, 2011 will mark a sixth year in a row of new-home-sales declines and the fewest sales since records began being kept in 1963. One statistic tells the story: The 323,000 new homes sold in 2010 was less than 60% of the number of new homes sold in 1963, even though the population today is nearly two-thirds bigger.
We are stuck today, as in the 1930s, in a household recession triggered by excessive debt levels. These, unfortunately, can take many years—not months—to fix.