New Home Sales Rise Following Huge Two-Month Downward Revisions

I apologize for the diversion from political slime into actual economic reporting. But let's discuss new home sales.

Hooray!

The census bureau reports new home sales rose 3.5%.

There's only one problem: revisions.

From Econoday

At 629,000, August's annualized sales pace for new homes came in right at expectations but is offset by sharp downward revisions to the two prior months totaling 39,000 (July now 608,000 vs an initial 627,000; June now 618,000 vs 638,000).

And the gain in August was boosted by discounting as the median fell 2.4 percent to $320,200. Discounting is also evident in the year-on-year rate, at plus 1.9 percent vs a 12.7 percent rise in sales.

Supply moved into the market, up 1.6 percent to 318,000 new homes for sale, but remains little changed relative to sales, at 6.1 months vs 6.2 months.

By region, the West is doing best with a 9.1 percent monthly gain and a 19.1 percent yearly gain. The Midwest is next at plus 2.7 percent for a yearly 13.2 percent followed by the South which is by far the largest region, down 1.7 percent in the month but up 11.5 percent year-on-year. The Northeast is by far the smallest region and though sales soared a monthly 48 percent, the gain is exaggerated given the low base. Northeast sales on the year are down 2.9 percent.

This report is mixed with the downward revisions a reminder of how volatile housing data can be. But volatility aside, the sector is doing no better than mixed and looks to remain a disappointing contributor to overall economic growth.

Mixed Report Not

This report is not mixed. This image shows why.

Some of that bust and rebound is related to the 2017 hurricane season. And we may be in for a repeat, but I expect on a smaller scale.

Strip out the hurricanes impacts and at best housing has flat-lined. I suspect worse, but it is difficult quantify.

Meanwhile the Fed is hiking and with that, the maximum loan people can afford is declining.

This is not a mixed bag.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (6)
No. 1-6
Tony_CA
Tony_CA

I have noticed in the East Bay, CA there has definitely been a slow down in home sales activity.

RonJ
RonJ

Recently heard a real estate ad on KOGO in San Diego, in which they mention the market being soft since July

George_Phillies
George_Phillies

With technological advancement, new homes should get cheaper, or larger at the same price.

DFWRealEstate
DFWRealEstate

Overall sales are still soft, but new home sales are plugging along. Comparisons definitely get more challenging for new home sales volume in the fourth quarter.The big question is whether builders can keep their price points down. Some are managing this shift better than others.

Bam_Man
Bam_Man

And mortgage rates are up 50bps in just the last month. I am sure this will be a big help.