Doug Short: This morning’s release of the August New Home Sales from the Census Bureau at 552,000 surprised general expectations, and the previous month was revised upward by 15K. The Investing.com forecast was for 515K.
This new interim high has not been seen since the recession began in 2008.
Here is the opening from the report:
Sales of new single-family houses in August 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 552,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 5.7 percent (±16.2%)* above the revised July rate of 522,000 and is 21.6 percent (±18.7%) above the August 2014 estimate of 454,000.[Full Report]
For a longer-term perspective, here is a snapshot of the data series, which is produced in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The data since January 1963 is available in the St. Louis Fed’s FRED repository here.
Over this time frame we see the steady rise in new home sales following the 1990 recession and the acceleration in sales during the real estate bubble that peaked in 2005.
The Population-Adjusted Reality
Now let’s examine the data with a simple population adjustment.
The Census Bureau’s mid-month population estimates show a 71% increase in the US population since 1963.
Here is a chart of new home sales as a percent of the population.