The big news for investors this week is not about the new President, the impeachment, or Covid stimulus and relief. The big news is that a housing boom is under way. Housing starts rose for the fourth straight month in December 2020 to 1.669 million, beating the 1.560 million forecast and November’s 1.578 million.
The U.S. needs at least 1.6 million housing starts annually just to keep up with population growth and replace existing housing stock, according to a 2016 study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Housing starts have been below that level since 2007. An increase to make up for the past 14 years of sub-par housing starts would make sense.
December’s housing starts topped the peak reached at the end of the 128-month economic expansion in March 2020, despite the pandemic crippling small business and other major industry sectors.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closed Friday at 3,841.47. The index lost -0.30% from it all-time closing high set on Thursday. It gained +1.92% from last week, and is up +52.77% from the March 23rd bear market low.
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