WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose more than expected in April and the stock of houses on the market hit a 3-1/2 year-high, further signs the sputtering housing recovery was poised to regain steam.
The Commerce Department said on Friday sales increased 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 units, ending two straight months of declines.
March’s sales pace was revised up to 407,000 units from a previously reported 384,000 units.
With spiking mortgage rates, and tumbling mortgage applications, it is hardly surprising that existing home sales tumbled in December but the 2.8% plunge is the biggest since July and is the worst decline for December since 2009.
Following the March pending home sales report which saw growth moderate after February's 3.6% surge to 1.1%, the flurry of contract signings, not actual purchases, in April rebounded by 3.4% - the biggest jump since September 2012 - far above the 0.9% consensus estimate and 14% higher than a year ago, pushing the pending home sales index to 112.4, the highest level since 2006.
Real estate guru Mark Hanson updates his housing view following this week's dismal housing industry data: Sept. Pending Sales... the largest MoM drop since Sept 2001... not 2011... yes, 2001. Don't let them tell you 'this is normal for Sept'. The 'oh-crap' moment is now in the can. Going forward, "Existing Sales" volume will disappoint on a YoY basis for several quarters. There is no way around it...
While the number of new home sales reported earlier beat consensus expectations, coming in at 546K above the estimated 523K, driven mostly by another curious surge in Northeast sales (up 88% from April) where something is clearly afoot following the recent historic outlier in housing permits as shown a week ago...
While it may not be quite the Vancouver-type feeding frenzy for Chinese money launderers, the US existing home sales market (at least until its inevitable downward revision courtesy of the permabullish NAR) continued to chug higher in January, when the number of existing homes sold rose to a 5.47MM annual rate, up 0.4% from the 5.45MM in December, and the strongest pace since the 5.48MM sold last July, beating expectations of a -2.5% drop; in fact the print was higher than the top estimate in the range. This follows the torrid December surge when existing homes sales soared 12.1%.
New Home Sales ReboundLast month, new home sales fell a very steep 11.4 percent to a 481,000 annual rate. Given the volatile nature of this series one might have expected a bounce in May and sure enough we got one, albeit not enough to wipe out April's dismal performance.
Michael David White submits:New Observations estimates excess inventory for sale equals 1.4 million units with over 4-million homes on-the-block, a figure hovering just 11 percent below peak-crash inventory, while at the very same time the realtors’ chief economist forecast Monday that “the housing price correction appears essentially over.”