Friday, July 24, 2015

Comments on New Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 7/24/2015 12:19:00 PM

The new home sales report for June was well below expectations at 482 thousand on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR), and there were also downward revisions to prior months.  However sales are still up solidly for 2015 compared to 2014.

A key question is if there was some negative impact of higher mortgage rates on sales? - or was the decline in June mostly noise?   Changes in rates would show up in New Home sales before Existing Home sales (that were strong in June) because New Home sales are reported when the contract is signed, and Existing Home sales are reported when the transaction closes.   If there is an impact from higher rates, then the impact will show up in the Existing Home sales report for July or August.

Earlier: New Home Sales decreased to 482,000 Annual Rate in June.

The Census Bureau reported that new home sales this year, through June, were 274,000, not seasonally adjusted (NSA). That is up 21.2% from 226,000 sales during the same period of 2014 (NSA). That is a strong year-over-year gain for the first half of 2015!

Sales were up 18.1% year-over-year in June.

New Home Sales 2013 2014Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows new home sales for 2014 and 2015 by month (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

The year-over-year gain will probably be strong through July (the first seven months were especially weak in 2014), however I expect the year-over-year increases to slow later this year - but the overall year-over-year gain should be solid in 2015.

And here is another update to the "distressing gap" graph that I first started posting a number of years ago to show the emerging gap caused by distressed sales.  Now I'm looking for the gap to close over the next several years.

Distressing GapThe "distressing gap" graph shows existing home sales (left axis) and new home sales (right axis) through June 2015. This graph starts in 1994, but the relationship has been fairly steady back to the '60s.

Following the housing bubble and bust, the "distressing gap" appeared mostly because of distressed sales.

I expect existing home sales to mostly move sideways over the next few years (distressed sales will continue to decline and be partially offset by more conventional / equity sales).  And I expect this gap to slowly close, mostly from an increase in new home sales.

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.