There has been a slew of economic data released over the past few days with (as usual) a mixed message to the housing market. As current levels are off from prior records, the message here seems to be that conditions are weakening, or at least are not at the peak so the housing market is falling..huh?
Seemingly, everyone is trying to call the peak of the market. See [Housing Boom Past Its Peak? [CNN/Money]](http://money.cnn.com/2005/11/17/news/economy/housingstarts/index.htm) “Housing starts fell to an annual rate of 2.01 million in October from a revised 2.13 million pace in September, the Commerce Department reported, while economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a reading of 2.06 million.”
New-home construction fell sharply in October as builders adjusted to a moderating housing market. The number of new building permits also plummeted last month, suggesting that the cooling will continue. [Housing Starts Fall in Latest Sign Of Cooling Market [WSJ]](http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB113223255579300111.html)
As noted in [Calculated Risk](http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2005/11/economists-say-us-housing-market-in.html), [Economists Say U.S. housing market in downdraft [Reuters]](http://today.reuters.com/PrinterFriendlyPopup.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=URI:urn:newsml:reuters.com:20051117:MTFH26431_2005-11-17_20-16-17_N17675131:1)
“The U.S. housing market has peaked and a slowdown appears underway after a five-year rally that toppled all construction and sales records and sent home prices soaring, economists said on Thursday.”
Rising mortgage rates seem to already be having the effect of returning the market to normal levels, “It’s not like it’s going to be a lousy market for housing next year,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “It will just be normal as opposed to these abnormal levels we’ve seen these last couple years.”