New Homes Coming

More green shoots for the housing markets: Builders started digging the foundations of new homes in November at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 574,000 per year, according to the U.S. Census.

That's up 9 percent from the annualized rate of 527,000 starts for October, a slow and unusually rainy month, and closer to the annualized rates over the summer that peaked at 593,000 in July.

The mini-recovery in home building should continue. Building permits, a sign of future construction, climbed to the highest level in a year.

So why is this good news? Builders are starting work on new houses while more than half a million homes are already listed for sale. With whole subdivisions standing empty on the outskirts of sprawling towns like Phoenix, shouldn't we finish selling the houses we have before we build new ones?