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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Home Sales increase in September to 313,000

by Calculated Risk on 10/26/2011 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 313 thousand. This was up from a revised 296 thousand in August (revised up from 295 thousand).

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

Sales of new single-family houses in September 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 ... This is 5.7 percent (±18.4%)* above the revised August rate of 296,000, but is 0.9 percent (±16.3%)* below the September 2010 estimate of 316,000.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

Months of supply decreased to 6.2 in September. The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009. This is still slightly higher than normal (less than 6 months supply is normal).

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 163,000. 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."
Starting 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 was at 61,000 units in September. The combined total of completed and under construction is at the lowest level since this series started.
The last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).

In September 2011 (red column), 25 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). This ties the record low for September set in 2010. The high for September was 99 thousand in 2005.
This was above the consensus forecast of 300 thousand, and was tied the record low for the month of September set last year (NSA). New home sales have averaged only 300 thousand SAAR over the 17 months since the expiration of the tax credit ... mostly moving sideways at a very low level (with a little upward slope recently).