Economists Kill the Buzz on Better Housing Data

Eggheads take the fun out of the 8.2 percent jump in April housing starts.

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With the apparent pleasure of a parking cop slipping a $50 ticket underneath your windshield wiper, a group of soul-killing economists is insisting that today's positive-looking housing data are in fact—you got it!—more bad news.

The Commerce Department announced today that April housing starts jumped a surprising 8.2 percent from the previous month. But don't reserve that party room at Benihana just yet, says Ian "The Cat Burglar of Dreams" Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics:

The headline increase in starts means nothing; it is all due to a rebound in the hugely volatile, but essentially trendless, multi-family sector, where starts plunged 35.1% in March and then jumped 36.0% in April.

Economists at Goldman Sachs, aka "the no fun zone," expressed similar sentiments:

"We do not [see] this report as a sign of a turn in the housing market, though some will doubtless view it as that. Instead, it looks to be a transitory turn as an abnormal fall last month is reversed."

Looks as if the housing market is so downtrodden that even good news is bad.