US: New Home Sales


Thu Jan 25 09:00:00 CST 2018

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
New Home Sales - Level - SAAR 680K 635K to 710K 625K 733K 689K

Highlights
The headline 9.3 percent decline in new home sales for December masks what is actually a solid new home sales report. December's 625,000 annualized rate is the fourth best of the expansion and follows November's revised 689,000 rate which is the very best. And importantly supply moved into the market, up 3.9 percent at 295,000 units. On a sales basis, supply improved to 5.7 months from November's 4.9 months.

Prices were steady in the month with the median edging up 0.1 percent to $335,400 for, however, very modest year-on-year improvement of only 2.6 percent. But prices may have room to move higher given that the sales rate is up 14.1 percent on the year with supply up 15.2 percent.

The downward revisions in today's report are significant, totaling 69,000 going back to October but this is really no surprise given how volatile this report always is. But the bottom line is upward sales momentum, incoming supply and room for prices to move higher. Residential investment has been dragging down GDP in recent quarters but today's report points to a solid contribution for tomorrow's fourth-quarter report.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
The new home sales report is known for its volatility which was apparent in November as the annualized rate surged to 733,000 for a 17.5 percent monthly spike, the largest in 25 years. But rates in the two prior months, at 624,000 and 635,000, were also unusually strong and marked a pivot higher for the series. The consensus for new home sales in December is a very solid 680,000 rate.

Definition
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.



Description
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.