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Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Home Sales in May at 319 Thousand SAAR

by Calculated Risk on 6/23/2011 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 319 thousand. This was down from a revised 326 thousand in April (revised from 323 thousand).

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 May 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 319,000 ... This is 2.1 percent (±10.7%)* below the revised April rate of 326,000, but is 13.5 percent (±13.6%)* above the May 2010 estimate of 281,000.
New Home Sales and RecessionsClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

And a long term graph for New Home Months of Supply.

Months of supply decreased to 6.2 in May from 6.3 months in April. 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).

New Home Months of Supply and Recessions
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 166,000. This represents a supply of 6.2 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."
NHS InventoryStarting in 1973 the Census Bureau broke this down into three categories: Not Started, Under Construction, and Completed.

This graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale fell to 64,000 units in May. 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 May 2011 (red column), 30 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). The record low for May was 26 thousand in 2010 (following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit) and now 2011. The high was 120 thousand in 2005.

Although above the consensus forecast of 305 thousand, this was just above the record low for May - and new home sales have averaged only 300 thousand SAAR since the expiration of the tax credit ... moving sideways at a very low level.