This is something that is hard to convey when people see how anemic housing is and how many problems there are in the market. However, measured by the absolute growth of housing permits issued, growth is now back to where it was during the boom.

FRED Graph

That seems crazy?

However, first permits are going to be a little more steady than starts and of course lead starts. This is because when you break ground might depend on lots of different temporary factors. Also, while the seasonal flux in permits is strong its not quite as bad as starts.

Second, and more important, the contribution to growth comes from the absolute change. So, going from nothing to really crappy can be a strong contributor to growth. Just as going from a boom to normal can be a strong drag on growth.

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