Monday, June 25, 2012

New Home Sales increase in May to 369,000 Annual Rate

by Bill McBride on 6/25/2012 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 369 thousand. This was up from 343 thousand SAAR in April. Sales in February and March were revised up.

The first graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions since 1963. The dashed line is the current sales rate.

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 ... 7.6 percent above the revised April rate of 343,000 and is 19.8 percent above the May 2011 estimate of 308,000.
New Home SalesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

Months of supply decreased to 4.7 in May from 5.0 in April.

The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009.

New Home Sales, Months of Supply This is now in the normal range (less than 6 months supply is normal).
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 145,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.
On inventory, according to the Census Bureau:
"A house is considered for sale when a permit to build has been issued in permit-issuing places or work has begun on the footings or foundation in nonpermit areas and a sales contract has not been signed nor a deposit accepted."
Starting in 1973 the Census Bureau broke this down into three categories: Not Started, Under Construction, and Completed.

New Home Sales, InventoryThis graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale was at a record low 43,000 units in May. The combined total of completed and under construction is at the lowest level since this series started.

The last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).

In May 2012 (red column), 35 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year only 28 thousand homes were sold in May. This was the fourth weakest May since this data has been tracked. The high for May was 120 thousand in 2005.

New Home Sales, NSAEven though sales are still very low, new home sales have clearly bottomed. New home sales have averaged 353 thousand SAAR over the first 5 months of 2012, after averaging under 300 thousand for the previous 18 months. All of the recent revisions have been up too. This was a very solid report and above the consensus forecast.

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