The Housing Bubble: Expecting the Unexpected

The ‘stimulus' package has not had chance to do anything yet, either fly or fail, but the  Commerce Department reported some unexpectedly positive news:

"Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 547,000.

This is 3.0 percent (±3.5%)* above the revised January rate of 531,000, [...]"              

"Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 373,000; this is 11.0 percent (±2.1%) above the January figure of 336,000."

Now, it can, and will be said that the numbers are less than sterling in regard to 2008, but economists were expecting a drop for the month.  Apparently, the destructive effect of bursting housing bubble had its limits, but all the same, the damage doesn't appear anywhere near terminal.