US: New Home Sales


Mon Feb 26 09:00:00 CST 2018

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
New Home Sales - Level - SAAR 640K 610K to 675K 593K 625K 643K

Highlights
Sales of new homes slowed but not all the data in January's new home sales report are negative. New home sales came in at a much lower-than-expected 593,000 annualized rate in January though, in offsets, the two prior months are revised a net 25,000 higher. And badly needed supply moved into the market, up a monthly 2.4 percent to 301,000 units for sale. On a sales basis, supply jumped above 6 months to 6.1 months vs 5.5 and 4.9 months in the two prior months.

But sales in January were definitely soft as the rate in the South, which is by far the largest housing region, fell 14.2 percent to a 301,000 rate with the Northeast, which had been coming on strong, down 33.3 percent to only a 24,000 rate. Year-on-year, sales in the West are doing best at plus 33.1 percent with the South down, however, a steep 10.9 percent. Overall, new home sales are down a yearly 1.0 percent.

Prices are another negative in the report, down 4.1 percent for the median to $323,000 though the yearly rate is still positive at 2.5 percent.

The new home market surged into the end of last year but understandably slowed in January. Yet supply, that is the lack of it, is an overwhelming issue for the market and today's details, including gains underway for permits and starts which are growing in the mid-to-high single digits, are positives for the outlook.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
Month-to-month volatility is common for new home sales but behind it all is a strongly rising trend. After falling nearly 10 percent in December to a 625,000 annualized rate, new home sales are expected to come in at a 640,000 rate in January. Supply of new homes came into the market in December which should be a plus for January's sales.

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.