Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Home Sales: Just above Record Low

by Bill McBride on 3/25/2009 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 337 thousand. This is slightly above the record low of 322 thousand in January.

New Home Sales Monthly Not Seasonally Adjusted Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph shows monthly new home sales (NSA - Not Seasonally Adjusted).

Note the Red column for 2009. This is the lowest sales for February since the Census Bureau started tracking sales in 1963. (NSA, 27 thousand new homes were sold in February 2009; the previous low was 29 thousand in February 1982).

As the graph indicates, sales in February 2009 are substantially worse than the previous years.

New Home Sales and Recessions The second graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions for the last 45 years. New Home sales have fallen off a cliff.

Sales of new one-family houses in February 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 337,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 4.7 percent (±18.3%) above the revised January rate of 322,000, but is 41.1 percent (±7.9%) below the February 2008 estimate of 572,000.
And one more long term graph - this one for New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Months of Supply and RecessionsThere were 12.2 months of supply in February - just below the al time record of 12.9 months of supply set in January.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 330,000. This represents a supply of 12.2 months at the current sales rate.
New Home Sales Inventory Update: Corrected Y-Axis label.

The final graph shows new home inventory. For new homes, both sales and inventory are falling quickly - since starts have fallen off a cliff.

Note that new home inventory does not include many condos (especially high rise condos), and areas with significant condo construction will have much higher inventory levels.

This is a another extremely weak report. Even with the small increase in sales, sales are near record lows. And months of supply is also just off the record high. I'll have more on new home sales later today ...