The Econoday economists missed the mark badly once again in their housing estimates.

Sales in July slipped to 627,000 units seasonally adjusted annualized (SAAR), well under consensus and even lower than the bottom estimate of 630,000.

A revision took June from 631,000 to 638,000 but May was revised lower by 12,000 to 654,000.

By Region

  • Northeast: -52.3%
  • Midwest: +9.9%
  • South: -3.3%
  • West: +10.9%

Good News Parrot

Despite the obvious weakness in the report, the Econoday parrot found plenty of good news items to cheer about.

> Now the good news. Supply moved into the market, up 2.0 percent to 309,000 new homes for sale which is the best showing since 2009. More homes for sale gives buyers more choices in what will be a likely positive for sales in the coming months. Relative to sales, supply is at 5.9 months vs 5.7 and 5.5 in the two prior months.

> Another positive is a rise in prices, up a sharp 6.0 percent on the month to a median $328,700 for what is still, however, a modest 1.8 percent year-on-year increase.

> Regional data show both the West and Midwest posting strong monthly gains with yearly rates at 18.5 percent and 18.2 percent respectively. The yearly rate for the South is at 17.2 percent with, however, the Northeast, which is by far the smallest region for new housing, down nearly 50 percent.

> The overall year-on-year rate of growth is at 12.8 percent which if sustained would point to a badly needed uplift for the housing sector in general going into the second-half of what has been a very subdued 2018.

Supply and Price

The parrot is crowing about supply. It rose from 303,000 to 309,000. These are homes built on speck, that no one bought. Why? Most likely no one can afford them.

The parrot is crowing about the rise in price despite the fact that people are stretched to the limit already. Recall that NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun moaned yesterday that builders were not building enough homes.


Here's my simple question: Who does not have a house that wants one and can afford one?

Year-Over-Year Fantasies

The parrot takes the cake on this one.

IF we had a sustained move of 18.5% year-over-year, not only would there be a boost to housing, the economy would be overheating.

The parrot never bothered to analyze WHY sales are up so much year-over-year.

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Even if sales rebound in November to 650,000 units from 627,000 units today, the year-over-year percentage will be -8.7%.

Hurricane Distortions

Please recall that 2017's three monster hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — Among Five Costliest Ever.

From January to July of 2017 sales were declining. Then there was an enormous artificial boost of new home sales and construction activities (repairs), in general.

Now what?

Yesterday I noted Existing Home Sales Decline Fourth Month.

Now builders are sitting on the most spec homes since 2009. Good luck with that.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

New Home Sales Beat Expectations, Up Most Since November 2017

New home sales are up thanks to builder discounts and falling mortgage rates.

New Home Sales Surge Most in 28 Years on Percentage Basis

New home sales for September blew out top end expectations and then some, rising 18.9 percent, the largest percentage gain in 28 years.

New Home Sales Surge, Prices Down, Revisions Negative

New home sales beat economists expectations. But the surge was entirely in the South.

Existing Home Sales Best Since February 2007: Good as it Gets?

Existing home sales beat expectations with a climb to 5.71 million units, seasonally adjusted annualized (SAAR).

New Home Sales Near Post Crisis High

New homes sales rose at a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate(SAAR) of 621,000 in March vs. an Econoday expectation of 588,000.

Builder Speculation: Supply of New Homes for Sale Surges to 7.4 Months

As sales dwindle and interest rates rise, the number of unsold homes built on speculation has risen sharply.

New Home Sales Spike Most in 25 Years: What's Going On?

New home sales rose a whopping 17.5%, the strongest gain since 1992 and the most homes sold in one month since 2007.

UK Retail Sales Plunge Most Since March of 2009

Additional cracks are starting to appear in the global economy. In the UK, retail sales plunged the most in eight years. Consumers are also becoming worried about falling house prices. I propose consumers should have been worried that home prices would tank long ago.

New Home Sales Weakening as Builder Speculation Increases: Home Builders In Trouble?

This morning, the Census Bureau reported New home sales are down again. Diving a bit deeper into the report there is clear evidence of builder speculation just as home sales and prices weaken.