A dashboard adjusts to the times

There was finally some significant movement on the HCN Industry Dashboard housing starts dials. Unfortunately, the movement was almost entirely the result of a recalibration. 

When introduced in August 2009, the original Dashboard’s starts-dial spanned from 200,000 to 2.6 million. But the needle has languished on the low end of the scale.

The new dials span from 300,000 to 1.1 million. The editors have also introduced a second needle, pointing to the pace of the prior month’s activity. Both moves are designed to make the dials easier to read.

But not even the friendlier display could sweeten the results of Februrary. Total housing starts fell to a SAAR of 479,000, while single-family starts slipped to a pace of 375,000 — both near record lows.