US: New Home Sales

Tue Jun 23 09:00:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
New Home Sales - Level - SAAR 525K 505K to 540K 546K 517K 534K

The lift off for housing is appearing more and more like it's straight up. New home sales rose 2.2 percent in May to an annual rate of 546,000 which is 6,000 above the high end Econoday forecast. Add to this is a 27,000 upward revision to the two prior months with April now standing at 534,000 for a big 8.1 percent monthly gain.

The surge in sales is making for a strong seller's market with supply relative to sales down to a very thin 4.5 months vs 4.6 months in April. Total new homes on the market stand unchanged at 206,000. The lack of supply risks becoming acute and will doubtlessly speed up construction activity led by permits which, in data posted last week, have been jumping.

Lack of supply will prove to be a positive for sales prices, which however, are down in the latest report, 2.9 percent lower to a median $282,800. Year-on-year, the median price is down 1.0 percent vs the year-on-year sales gain of 19.5 percent in a mismatch that points to price acceleration ahead.

Regional sales data show a strong 13.1 percent rise in the West where year-on-year sales are up 25.5 percent. The South, which is larger than all the other regions combined in this report, has the strongest year-on-year rate at 33.3 percent though monthly sales in May dipped 4.3 percent. Sales have been soft in both the Northeast and Midwest where year-on-year rates are in the negative column though the Northeast is showing monthly strength in this report.

Yesterday's existing home sales report was very positive as is today's report, both of which add to other data that put housing at the top economy right now for a sector that can offset stubborn weakness in the manufacturing economy.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
New home sales may be one of the brightest spots for economy. They jumped sharply in April and permit data for May were very strong. Despite the tough comparison with a very strong April, the Econoday consensus is calling for a respectable 1.6 percent rise in May to a 0.525 million annual rate.

New home sales measure the number of newly constructed homes with a committed sale during the month. The level of new home sales indicates housing market trends and, in turn, economic momentum and consumer purchases of furniture and appliances.

This provides a gauge of not only the demand for housing, but the economic momentum. People have to be feeling pretty comfortable and confident in their own financial position to buy a house. Furthermore, this narrow piece of data has a powerful multiplier effect through the economy, and therefore across the markets and your investments. By tracking economic data such as new home sales, investors can gain specific investment ideas as well as broad guidance for managing a portfolio. Each time the construction of a new home begins, it translates to more construction jobs, and income which will be pumped back into the economy. Once the home is sold, it generates revenues for the home builder and the realtor. It brings a myriad of consumption opportunities for the buyer. Refrigerators, washers, dryers and furniture are just a few items new home buyers might purchase. The economic "ripple effect" can be substantial especially when you think a hundred thousand new households around the country are doing this every month. Since the economic backdrop is the most pervasive influence on financial markets, new home sales have a direct bearing on stocks, bonds and commodities. In a more specific sense, trends in the new home sales data carry valuable clues for the stocks of home builders, mortgage lenders and home furnishings companies.