Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Home Sales: Record Low for May

by Bill McBride on 6/24/2009 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 342 thousand. This is essentially the same as the revised rate of 344 thousand in April.

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 lowest sales for May since the Census Bureau started tracking sales in 1963. (NSA, 32 thousand new homes were sold in May 2009; the record low was 36 thousand in May 1982).

As the graph indicates, sales in May 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 May 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 ...

This is 0.6 percent (±17.8%)* below the revised April rate of 344,000 and is 32.8 percent (±10.9%) below the May 2008 estimate of 509,000..
And another long term graph - this one for New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Months of Supply and RecessionsThere were 10.2 months of supply in May - 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 May was 292,000. This represents a supply of 10.2 months 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.

This is another weak report. I'll have more later ...