by Bill McBride on 1/25/2013 10:00:00 AM
Friday, January 25, 2013
The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 369 thousand. This was down from a revised 398 thousand SAAR in November (revised up from 377 thousand). Sales for September and October were revised up too.
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 December 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 ... This is 7.3 percent below the revised November rate of 398,000, but is 8.8 percent above the December 2011 estimate of 339,000."Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.
Annual 2012 sales were up almost 20% compared to 2011:
"An estimated 367,000 new homes were sold in 2012. This is 19.9 percent above the 2011 figure of 306,000."The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.
The months of supply increased in December to 4.9 months from 4.5 months in November.
The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009.
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 December was 151,000. This represents a supply of 4.9 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.
This graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.
The inventory of completed homes for sale was just above the record low in December. The combined total of completed and under construction is also just above the record low since "under construction" is starting to increase.
The last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).
In December 2012 (red column), 26 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year only 24 thousand homes were sold in December. This was the sixth weakest December since this data has been tracked. The high for December was 87 thousand in 2005.
New home sales were at 367 thousand in 2012, up almost 20% from 307 thousand in 2011. Also sales are finally near the lows for previous recessions too.
This was below expectations of 388,000 sales in December, but with the strong upward revision to November sales (and smaller upward revisions to September and October) this was another solid report. I'll have more soon ...