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Economic Report: More new-home sales are for houses that haven’t even been started yet. That’s not a good thing.

The percent of newly constructed homes sold that hadn’t even been started yet has climbed to a fresh one-year high.

In late 2017, MarketWatch published a story called “More Americans are buying new homes that haven’t even been started yet.” At the time, Rob Dietz, the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders called it “a real confirmation of strong demand.”

In the Commerce Department’s new-home sales release, out Tuesday, that metric just hit the highest since that story ran last year, at 34.3%. But with a challenging 2018 in the rearview mirror – new-home sales were basically flat compared to 2017, big builder stocks ITB, -0.23% lost 20%, and some economists think we’ve hit the end of the cycle – Dietz is humming a different tune.

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