Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Home Sales Decrease in September

by Calculated Risk on 10/28/2009 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 402 thousand. This is a decrease from the revised rate of 417 thousand in August (revised from 429 thousand).

New Home Sales Monthly Not Seasonally Adjusted Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph shows monthly new home sales (NSA - Not Seasonally Adjusted).

Note the Red columns for 2009. Sales in September 2009 (31 thousand) were below September 2008 (35 thousand). This is the 3rd lowest sales for September since the Census Bureau started tracking sales in 1963.

In September 2009, 31 thousand new homes were sold (NSA); the record low was 28 thousand in September 1981; the record high for September was 99 thousand in 2005.

New Home Sales and Recessions The second graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions for the last 45 years. New Home sales fell off a cliff, but are now 22% above the low in January.

Sales of new one-family houses in September 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 ...

This is 3.6 percent (±10.2%)* below the revised August rate of 417,000 and is 7.8 percent (±12.0%)* below the September 2008 estimate of 436,000.
And another long term graph - this one for New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Months of Supply and RecessionsThere were 7.5 months of supply in September - significantly below the all time record of 12.4 months of supply set in January.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 251,000. This represents a supply of 7.5 months at the current sales rate.
New Home Sales Inventory The final graph shows new home inventory.

Note that new home inventory does not include many condos (especially high rise condos), and areas with significant condo construction will have much higher inventory levels.

Months-of-supply and inventory have both peaked for this cycle, and new homes sales has probably also bottomed for this cycle. Sales were probably impacted by the end of the first-time home buyer tax credit (because of timing, new home sales are impacted before existing home sales).

New home sales are far more important for the economy than existing home sales, and new home sales will remain under pressure until the overhang of existing homes declines much further.

I'll have more later ...