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New Home Sales  
Released On 3/23/2012 10:00:00 AM For Feb, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Home Sales - Level - SAAR321 K325 K315 K to 345 K313 K

There are signs of life in the new home sector but they're not yet translating into higher sales. New home sales fell 1.6 percent in February to a 313,000 annual rate that compares with the Econoday consensus for 325,000. January is revised to 318,000, a 3,000 downward revision offset by a large 12,000 upward revision to December which at 336,000 is the best rate so far of the recovery.

The biggest strength in the February report is in prices which surged 8.3 percent for the median to $233,700 for the highest since June with the year-on-year rate, at plus 6.2 percent, showing its first positive reading since October. Comparisons for the average price, at $267,700, show smaller gains. Supply, like prices, is also favorable, at 5.8 months at the current sales rate. This rate is up from January and from December's low of 5.5 months, but otherwise is the recovery's third lowest reading.

Regionally, February sales rose in the Northeast and West but fell sharply in the South which is by far the largest and most important region in this series. This report is mixed in contrast to the home builders' housing market index which has been moving straight up. Following today's report, the Dow is moving lower.

Consensus Outlook
New home sales posted at a 321,000 annual rate in January. The level was down 0.9 percent on the month but from a sharply upward revised December rate of 324,000 versus an initial reading of 307,000. November was revised 4,000 higher to 318,000, leaving January's sales rate, up a very marginal 3,000 compared to November. The median price nudged up 0.3 percent to $217,100 and followed a 1.6 percent increase in December. On a year-ago basis, the median price was down 9.6 percent in January. Supply nudged down to 5.6 months in January. This was the best supply reading in six years.

New home sales measure the number of newly constructed homes with a committed sale during the month. The level of new home sales indicates housing market trends and, in turn, economic momentum and consumer purchases of furniture and appliances.  Why Investors Care
There is no question that lower interest rates boost home sales. Other factors also impact housing decisions, such as employment and income growth, and wealth stemming from stock market gains.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/262/243/234/245/236/257/258/239/2610/2411/2812/27
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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