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Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Home Sales: The Distressing Gap

by Calculated Risk on 5/28/2009 12:11:00 PM

For graphs based on the new home sales report this morning, please see: New Home Sales Flat in April

Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that "Distressed properties ... accounted for 45 percent of all sales in April". Distressed sales include REO sales (foreclosure resales) and short sales, and based on the 4.68 million existing home sales (SAAR) that puts distressed sales at a 2.1 million annual rate in April.

That fits with the MBA foreclosure and delinquency data released this morning that shows that "3.85% of all mortgages somewhere in the foreclosure process at the end of the first quarter".

All this distessed sales activity has created a gap between new and existing sales as shown in the following graph that I've jokingly labeled the "Distressing" gap.

This is an update including April new and existing home sales data.

Distressing Gap Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows existing home sales (left axis) and new home sales (right axis) through March.

As I've noted before, I believe this gap was caused by distressed sales - in many areas home builders cannot compete with REO sales, and this has pushed down new home sales while keeping existing home sales activity elevated.

Over time, as we slowly work through the distressed inventory of existing homes, I expect existing home sales to fall further - See Existing Home Sales: Turnover Rate - and eventually for the distressing gap to close.