New Homes Sales Highest Since February 2008 [Dow Jones Industrial Average, SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust]

real estateDoug Short:  This morning’s release of the May New Homes Sales from the Census Bureau at 546K was 21K above forecast, with the previous month an upward revision. The forecast was for 525K sales, which would have been a 3.8% increase from the revised previous month. The actual increase was 2.2%.

Here is the opening from the report:

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 2.2 percent (±16.7%)* above the revised April rate of 534,000 and is 19.5 percent (±19.7%)* above the May 2014 estimate of 457,000. [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.

New Home Sales

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 68.4% increase in the US population since 1963. Here is a chart of new home sales as a percent of the population.

Population Adjusted

New single-family home sales are about 8% below the 1963 start of this data series. The population-adjusted version is 46% below the first 1963 sales and at a level similar to the lows we saw during the double-dip recession in the early 1980s, a time when 30-year mortgage rates peaked above 18%. Today’s 30-year rate is at 4%.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Doug Short from Advisor Perspectives.

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