Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Home Sales Flat in April

by Bill McBride on 5/28/2009 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 352 thousand. This is essentially the same as the revised rate of 351 thousand in March.

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 columns for 2009. This is the second lowest sales for April since the Census Bureau started tracking sales in 1963. (NSA, 33 thousand new homes were sold in March 2009; the record low was 32 thousand in April 1982).

As the graph indicates, sales in April 2009 were 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 April 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 352,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 0.3 percent (±14.5%)* above the revised March rate of 351,000, but is 34.0 percent (±11.0%) below the April 2008 estimate of 533,000.
And another long term graph - this one for New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Months of Supply and RecessionsThere were 10.1 months of supply in April - significantly below the all time record of 12.4 months of supply set in January.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 297,000. This represents a supply of 10.1months at the current sales rate.
New Home Sales Inventory The final graph shows new home inventory.

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.

It appears the months-of-supply for inventory has peaked, and there is some chance that sales of new homes has bottomed for this cycle - but we won't know for many months. However any recovery in sales will likely be modest because of the huge overhang of existing homes for sale. I'll have more ...