Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A few Comments on October New Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 11/23/2016 12:31:00 PM

New home sales for October were reported below the consensus forecast at 563,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR). And the previous months were revised down.

However, sales were up 17.8% year-over-year in October, and this is the best month for October (NSA) since 2007. And sales are up 12.7% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2015.

The glass is more than half full.  This is very solid year-over-year growth and just suggests that expectations were ahead of reality. This is why we look at the trend and not just one month.

Note that these sales (for October) were before the recent increase in mortgage rates.

Earlier: New Home Sales at 563,000 Annual Rate in October.

New Home Sales 2015 2016Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows new home sales for 2015 and 2016 by month (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).  Sales to date are up 12.7% year-over-year, because of very strong year-over-year growth over the last seven months.

Overall  I expected lower growth this year, in the 4% to 8% range.  Slower growth seemed likely this year because Houston (and other oil producing areas) will have a problem this year.   It looks like I was too pessimistic on new home sales this year.

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 October 2016. This graph starts in 1994, but the relationship had 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 move more sideways, and I expect this gap to slowly close, mostly from an increase in new home sales.

However, this assumes that the builders will offer some smaller, less expensive homes. If not, then the gap will persist.

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.