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TheStreet) -- Thursday's
disappointing homebuilding permits data
further confirms that the "housing market recovery remains fragile at best," said Kevin Brungardt, CEO of RoundPoint Financial, a mortgage origination and servicing firm.
He cited the usual suspects of high unemployment, potential buyers' low confidence among in the stability of home prices and the large inventory of distressed properties that still need to be cleared.
>>Housing Starts Rise 3.9% in November
Homebuilders began construction on 3.9% more homes in November, better than the expected growth rate, while applications for building permits fell 4%, pointing to a softening in future homebuilding activity.
Foreclosure activity declined dramatically in November
, but Brungardt said the 21% month-over-month drop was "a false positive," a result of the so-called "robosigning" scandal that led to procedural delays and foreclosure moratoriums at servicers like
Bank of America(BAC - Get Report) and
JPMorgan Chase(JPM - Get Report). Even
Fannie Mae(FNMA.OB) and
Freddie Mac(FMCC.OB), which stand behind the vast majority of U.S. mortgages, have said they won't push forward on foreclosures during the holiday season.
Brungardt estimated that the shadow inventory of homes could take two to three years to clear to a point where housing supply and demand begin to match up again, and that no acknowledged housing bottom will appear until that shadow inventory is significantly curtailed.
>>Homebuilder Stocks: Behind the Numbers