Sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers. And, as the DNA results long made clear, the prodigal son, US housing data, continues to dog parental bank balance sheets around the world. Concerned citizens Paulson, Brown, Merkel, Sarkozy et al may all be frantically sort out the problems left by Junior but lenders aren't yet free.

The permit and construction data is poor with new home construction at 17 year lows. And sales data to be released on 27 October is set to be equally dismal. The current sales data picture:

Exhibit 1: US single home sales & stock, 1970-2008

Looks like the lad impregnated the entire village. The stock to sales ratio has never been this high out of a recession and yet sale stock is still at historical peak levels. Polygamy not being an option (outside Utah) all rests, it seems, on disinheriting the wayward youth in as a politically palatable way as possible.

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