Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Misc: Sales Ratio Existing to New Home Sales, FHFA House Prices, Richmond Fed Mfg Survey

by Bill McBride on 2/26/2013 06:01:00 PM

A couple of earlier released ... another index shows house prices increased in 2012, and the Richmond Fed survey suggested regional manufacturing expanded in February.

• From the FHFA: U.S. House Prices Rose 1.4 Percent in Fourth Quarter 2012

U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 5.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.6 percent from November.

“The fourth quarter was another strong one for house prices, as it was the third consecutive quarter where U.S. price growth exceeded one percent,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “While a significant number of homes remained in the foreclosure pipeline, the actual number of homes available for sale was very low and fell over the course of the quarter.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric introduced in August 2011 that adds transaction information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.6 percent over the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters, that index is also up 5.5 percent.
emphasis added
• From the Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Rebounded In February; Expectations Rose
In February, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity — our broadest measure of manufacturing — gained eighteen points, settling at 6 from January's reading of −12. Among the index's components, shipments rose twenty-one points to 10, the gauge for new orders moved up seventeen points to end at 0, and the jobs index increased thirteen points to 8.

Other indicators also suggested strengthening in February. The index for capacity utilization moved higher, adding twenty-nine points to 11, and the index for backlogs of orders gained seven points to end at −12. The delivery times index stabilized, picking up four points to end at 4, while both our gauges for inventories were lower in February. The raw materials inventory index lost seven points to finish at 16, and the finished goods inventories moved down eleven points to end at 12.

Hiring activity at District plants was mixed in February. The manufacturing employment index moved up thirteen points to settle at 8, while the average workweek indicator remained weak, tacking on just two points to end at −2. However, the wage index held steady at 11.
• Earlier I posted a graph that shows the "distressing gap" between new and existing home sales. I've argued that this gap has been mostly caused by distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) and that eventually the gap would close.

Another way to look at this is a ratio of existing to new home sales.

This ratio was fairly stable from 1994 through 2006, and then the flood of distressed sales kept the number of existing home sales elevated and depressed new home sales. (Note: This ratio was fairly stable back to the early '70s, but I only have annual data for the earlier years).

Distressing GapClick on graph for larger image.

In general the ratio has been trending down, and I expect this ratio to trend down over the next several years as the number of distressed sales declines and new home sales increase.

Note: Existing home sales are counted when transactions are closed, and new home sales are counted when contracts are signed. So the timing of sales is different.

Earlier on New Home Sales:
New Home Sales at 437,000 SAAR in January
A few Comments on New Home Sales
New Home Sales graphs
Earlier on House Prices:
Case-Shiller: Comp 20 House Prices increased 6.8% year-over-year in December
Real House Prices and Price-to-Rent Ratio
All Current House Price Graphs

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