Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Home Sales at 481,000 Annual Rate in January, Highest January since 2008

by Bill McBride on 2/25/2015 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 481 thousand.

November sales were revised up from 431 thousand to 446 thousand, and December sales were revised up from 481 thousand to 482 thousand.

"Sales of new single-family houses in January 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 0.2 percent below the revised December rate of 482,000, but is 5.3 percent above the January 2014 estimate of 457,000."
New Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

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

Even with the increase in sales over the previous two years, new home sales are barely above the bottom for previous recessions.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Sales, Months of SupplyThe months of supply was unchanged in January at 5.4 months.

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 January was 218,000. This represents a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate."
New Home Sales, InventoryOn 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.

The third graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale is still low, and the combined total of completed and under construction is also low.

New Home Sales, NSAThe last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).

In January 2015 (red column), 36 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year 33 thousand homes were sold in January.  This is the highest for January since 2008.

The high for January was 92 thousand in 2005, and the low for January was 21 thousand in 2011.

This was above expectations of 471,000 sales in January, and is a decent start to 2015.  I'll have more later today.