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The optimistic take on this week’s housing starts number is that the market remains strong in spite of rising interest rates. The pessimistic take is that the homebuilding market is too strong—that there’s an emerging oversupply of housing that will eventually push prices down. Merrill Lynch’s David Rosenberg, returning to a favorite theme, wrote today that “starts are still running well above what is warranted by net household formation.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.