Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Home Sales in April at 323 Thousand SAAR, Ties Record low for April

by Calculated Risk on 5/24/2011 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 323 thousand. This was up from a revised 301 thousand in March (revised from 300 thousand).

New Home Sales and RecessionsClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

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

Sales of new one-family houses in April 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000 ... This is 7.3 percent (±16.6%)* above the revised March rate of 301,000, but is 23.1 percent (±9.7%) below the April 2010 estimate of 420,000.
And a long term graph for New Home Months of Supply:

New Home Months of Supply and RecessionsMonths of supply decreased to 6.5 in April from 7.2 months in March. The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009. This is still higher than normal (less than 6 months supply is normal).
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 175,000. This represents a supply of 6.5 months at the current sales rate.
On 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.

NHS InventoryThis graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale fell to 67,000 units in April. The combined total of completed and under construction is at the lowest level since this series started.

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

In April 2011 (red column), 32 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). This ties the record low for the month of April.

The record low for April was 32 thousand in both 1982 and 2009 - and now 2011. The high was 116 thousand in 2005.

Although above the consensus forecast of 300 thousand, this ties the record low for April - and new home sales have averaged only 298 thousand SAAR over the last 12 months ... moving sideways at a very low level.