New home sales, unlike other indicators on the housing sector, aren't yet showing much life, coming in at a 321,000 annual rate in January. The level is down 0.9 percent but from a sharply upward revised December rate of 324,000 vs an initial reading of 307,000. November is revised 4,000 higher to 318,000 which, compared to January's sales rate, is up a very marginal 3,000.
Supply, despite the soft sales, is coming down inch by inch, to 5.6 months at the current sales rate. This is the best supply reading in six years. Another plus in today's report is sales strength in the South which is by far the largest region and which rose 9.3 percent in the month. Prices nationwide are steady and soft, at $217,100 for the median.
Warm weather may be giving the housing sector a counter-seasonal lift but it hasn't yet, at least up to January, helped the new home market very much. Next data on the housing sector will be Monday with the pending home sales report.
New home sales in December fell 2.2 percent to a disappointingly soft annual rate of 307,000. While the number fell short of expectations, the dip did follow three consecutive gains-4.1 percent in September, 1.7 percent in October, and 2.3 percent in November. Sales are not particularly strong but the trend may still be up.