US: New Home Sales

Wed May 23 09:00:00 CDT 2018

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
New Home Sales - Level - SAAR 677K 650K to 692K 662K 694K 672K

Month after month the new home sales report shows its volatility behind which, however, slight strength is evident. Sales in April came in 15,000 short of Econoday's consensus, at a 662,000 annualized rate with revisions pulling down the prior two months by a total of 30,000. Yet compared to the prior report, when sales beat expectations by 64,000 and when upward revisions added 81,000, today's report doesn't reverse what is still an upward slope for new homes.

Yet details are mixed. Price discounting may be underway as the median fell a very steep 6.9 percent in the month to $312,400 for a year-on-year gain of only 0.4 percent. Relative to sales, which are up 11.6 percent year-on-year, prices look like they have room to climb. Supply data are also a concern. New homes on the market rose only 2,000 to 300,000 with supply relative to sales also moving only marginally higher, to 5.4 months from 5.3 months.

Until supply begins to build at a better pace, sales of new home homes will lack acceleration. Residential investment, where new home sales are a major piece, proved flat in the first quarter though improvement in the second quarter, however limited, does look like it's underway. Watch tomorrow for existing home sales which have been flat and which are expected to remain so.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
New home sales surged higher in March and are understandably expected to slow slightly in April, to a consensus 677,000 annualized rate vs April's 694,000. Before the April report, new home sales had been hesitant and slow but following that report, which also included steep upward revisions, the pace turned solid.

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.