Thursday, April 23, 2020

New Home Sales Decrease to 627,000 Annual Rate in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/23/2020 10:14:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 627 thousand.

The previous three months were revised down.

Sales of new single‐family houses in March 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 15.4 percent below the revised February rate of 741,000 and is 9.5 percent below the March 2019 estimate of 693,000."
emphasis added
New Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

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

Even with the increase in sales over the last several years, new home sales are just at a normal level.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Sales, Months of SupplyThe months of supply increased in March to 6.4 months from 5.2 months in February.

The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009.

This is slightly above the normal range (less than 6 months supply is normal).
"The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 333,000. This represents a supply of 6.4 months at the current sales rate."
New Home Sales, InventoryOn 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.

The third graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale is still somewhat low, and the combined total of completed and under construction is close to normal.

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

In March 2020 (red column), 61 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year, 68 thousand homes were sold in March.

The all time high for March was 127 thousand in 2005, and the all time low for March was 28 thousand in 2011.

This was below expectations of 645 thousand sales SAAR, and sales in the three previous months were revised down.  I'll have more later today.

The sales in March were only partially impacted by COVID-19 crisis.  Sales in April will probably be much lower.