new home sales and existing home sales for January

the only two widely watched reports that were released this past week were the January report on new home sales from the Census bureau and the Existing Home Sales Report for January from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)…we also saw the release of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for January, a weighted composite index of 85 different economic metrics, which fell to -0.05 in January from +0.18 in December, which was revised from the +0.14 reported last month…at the same time, the 3 month average of that index rose to -0.02 in January, up from a revised  -0.03 in December, which still indicates that national economic activity has been slightly below the historical trend over recent months…in addition, this week also saw the release of the Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey for February, covering western Missouri, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming and northern New Mexico, which reported its broadest composite index at +14, up from +9 in January, its highest reading since June 2011, indicating an ongoing expansion in that region’s manufacturing…

New Home Sales Little Changed in January

the Census report on New Residential Sales for January (pdf) estimated that new single family homes were selling at a seasonally adjusted pace of 555,000 homes annually, which was 3.7 percent (±18.5%)* above the revised December annual sales rate of 535,000 new single family homes and 5.5 percent (±25.4 percent)* above the estimated annual rate that new homes were selling at in January of last year….the asterisks indicate that based on their small sampling, Census could not be certain whether January new home sales rose or fell from those of December, or even from January sales of a year ago, with the figures in parenthesis representing the 90% confidence range for reported data in this report, which has the largest margin of error and is subject to the largest revisions of any census construction series….with this report; sales of new single family homes in December were revised from the annual rate of 536,000 reported last month to an annual rate of 535,000, and new home sales in November, initially reported at an annual rate of 592,000 and revised to a 598,000 rate last month, were revised down to a 575,000 a year rate with this report, while October’s annualized new home sales rate, initially reported at an annual rate of 563,000 and revised up to a 571,000 a year rate last month, were revised back down to a 568,000 rate with this release…

the annual rates of sales reported here are seasonally adjusted after extrapolation from the estimates of canvassing Census field reps, which indicated that approximately 41,000 new single family homes sold in January, up from the estimated 38,000 new homes that sold in December but down from the 46,000 that sold in November…..the raw numbers from Census field agents further estimated that the median sales price of new houses sold in January was $312,900, down from the median sale price of $316,200 in December but up from the median sales price of $291,100 in January a year ago, while the average January new home sales price was $360,900, down from the $378,900 average sales price in December, and down from the average sales price of $365,600 in January a year ago….a seasonally adjusted estimate of 265,000 new single family houses remained for sale at the end of January, which represents a 5.7 month supply at the January sales rate, down from the 5.8 months of new home supply reported in December…for graphs and additional commentary on this report, see the following two posts by Bill McBride at Calculated Risk: New Home Sales increase to 555,000 Annual Rate in January and A few Comments on January New Home Sales

January Existing Home Sales 3.3% Higher

the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home sales rose by 3.3% from December to January on a seasonally adjusted basis, projecting that 5.69 million existing homes would sell over an entire year if the January home sales pace were extrapolated over that year, a pace that was just 0.7% above the annual sales rate projected in January of a year ago…December sales are now shown to have been at a 5.51 million annual rate, revised up from the 5.49 million annual rate indicated by last month’s report…the NAR also reported that the median sales price for all existing-home types was $228,900 in January, down from $233,300 in December, but 7.1% higher than in January a year earlier, which they report as “the 59th consecutive month of year-over-year gains”…..the NAR press release, which is titled “Existing-Home Sales Jump in January“, is in easy to read plain English, so if you’re interested in the details on housing inventories, cash sales, distressed sales, first time home buyers, etc., you can easily find them in that press release…as sales of existing properties do not add to our national output, neither these home sales nor the prices for which these homes sell are included in GDP, except insofar as real estate, local government and banking services are rendered during the selling process…

since this report is entirely seasonally adjusted and at a not very informative annual rate, we usually look at the raw data overview (pdf) to see what actually transpired during the month…this unadjusted data indicates that roughly 320,000 homes sold in January, down by 26.8% from the 437,000 homes that sold in December, but up by 6.0% from the 302,000 homes that sold in January of last year, so we can see that it was a seasonal adjustment that caused the annualized published figures to show a month over month increase….that same pdf indicates that the median home selling price for all housing types fell 1.9%, from a revised $233,300 in December to $228,900 in January, while the average home sales price was $271,000, down 1.4% from the $274,900 average sales price in December, but up 5.2% from the $257,700 average home sales price of January a year ago…for both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted graphs and additional commentary on this report, see the following two posts from Bill McBride at Calculated Risk: NAR: “Existing-Home Sales Jump in January” and A Few Comments on January Existing Home Sales


(the above is the synopsis that accompanied my regular sunday morning links emailing, which in turn was mostly selected from my weekly blog post on the global glass onion…if you’d be interested in receiving my weekly emailing of selected links, most from the aforementioned GGO posts, contact me…)                    

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