New One Family Home Sales: Ugly!

New Single Family Homes Sold in USC25_curr
Source: Census Dept.

The Census Department released their New Home Sales data, and it warn’t none too purty:  Sales of new one-family houses in November 2007 fell to a 12-year monthly low. The  seasonally adjusted annual sales rate was 647,000, far below the consensus of 720,000. As expected, October sales were revised downwards. 

This is down 9% from October’s levels. Year over year, November ’07 new-home sales were 34.4% lower than November 2006. That’s the largest year-to-year decline since 35.3% in
January 1991.

New Home Sales are a measure of contract signings, and do not reflect canceled contracts. Actual numbers are likely lower, as cancellation rates have been running as high as 40%.

The WSJ noted that "the median price of a new home decreased by 0.4% to $239,100 in
November from $240,100 in November 2006. The average price advanced by
0.5% to $293,300 from $291,800 a year earlier. In October this year,
the median price was $229,500 and the average was $307,900."

Of course, these reported prices don’t reflect the
REAL price, as homebuilder incentives and giveaways do not show in this data. Builders have been throwing in free granite counter tops, high end appliances, swimming pools, even cars as incentives.

The inventory estimates of new houses for sale at the end of November decreased 1.8% to 505,000 — but because sales dropped even faster, inventory of unsold homes jumped to 9.3 months at the current sales rate.

Margin of error/confidence interval

One Final note: The monthly drop of 9.0% is below the Census Bureau’s ±13.9%* confidence interval. When the reported data point includes zero (as it does in this instance), then the Census Bureau states "it does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero." In other words, the monthly data is not meaningful.

As to the year-over-year change of 34.4%, the confidence interval of ±7.9% does not includes zero. Therefore (in Census Bureau lingo), there is sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that an actual change occurred.


U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2007 AT 10:00 A.M. EST

Chart, New Single Family Home Sales
U.S. Census Bureau

Sales of New Homes in U.S. Dropped 9% to 12-Year Low
Bob Willis
Bloomberg, December 28, 2007

New-Home Sales Tumbled 9% Amid Falling Prices in November
WSJ, December 28, 2007 10:20 a.m.

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Real Estate

Dollar Value Inventory of Unsold Homes

Category: Credit, Real Estate, Technical Analysis

A Different Kind of Music List: Best of 2007

It’s that time of year again! Following our successful outings the past three years, I’m at it again. Here’s our Different Kind of Top 10 Music List for 2007. If you missed prior versions (2006 and 2005 and 2004), here’s the deal: There are a gazillion Best of Lists out there (and one list to…Read More

Category: Digital Media, Music

New Business Model: Launch New Sites to Annoy/Sell to Apple

Category: Corporate Management, M&A, Technology, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Bloomberg Radio Interview

Category: Media

Durable Goods Flat, Business CapEx Spending Falls

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy

The Making of a Mortgage CDO

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Real Estate

Move over CDs: DVDs, Concerts also slump

We have been documenting the slow death of CDs over the past 7 years. This year brought the first slowing sales in that other shiny polycarbonate disc, the DVD.

In a recent report, Alliance Bernstein Research observed that through early December, DVD sales
were down 4.1% YTD
, including a 2.1% decline in Q4.
Bernstein cited data from Nielsen VideoScan.

DVD sales were flat in 2006,pulling in the same ~$16 billion as 2005. Total home video revenues — including both sales and rentals — looks like they will hit ~$23 billion in 2007. That’s a $ billion shy of 2006 revenues.

These are only minor drops, but what makes them significant is that, no matter how you measure it, 2007 is the first negative year-over-year sales growth since DVDs came to market.

I suspect that the usual attention scarcity — which have been hurting CD sales — are also be impacting DVDs. And DRM certainly isn’t helping (What do you mean I can’t watch this DVD on my iPod?). However, DVD buyers are also wrestling with the additional factor of the latest format war.

Speaking personally, I’ve throttled back on my DVD purchases, as I await the winner of the HD/Blu Ray battle. Whatever DVDs I buy these days are disposable/rental priced (i.e., $5.99). The various HD formats are much pricier, and until that fight gets resolved, I, like many consumers, are buying less (Do I want this in HD? Gee, I better wait). Who wants to get stuck (again) with another extinct format?

There may be other macro factors at play: namely, an over-extended consumer. That showed up in not just DVD and CD sales, but in concert ticket revenue, also. 

PoliceDespite several big "reunion" tours — the Police, Van Halen and Genesis — the total North American concert industry posted its slowest year since 2004. According to Pollstar, the top 20 tours generated $996 million, down 15.6% percent from 2006 totals. The 2004 total was $951.1 million, when Prince and Madonna were touring. Perhaps a long tail effect is spreading less revenue to more bands.   

Here’s the specifics on revenue and ticket prices:

Top 20 Selling Tours of 2007 (Millions)

1. The Police  $ 131.9
2. Kenny Chesney $ 71.1 
3.  Justin Timberlake $ 70.6 
4. Celine Dion $ 65.3 
5.  Van Halen $ 56.7 
6. Tim McGraw
and Faith Hill 
$ 52.3
7. Rod Stewart $ 49 
8.  Genesis $ 47.6
9.  Josh Groban $ 43 
10.   Rascal Flatts $ 41.5 
11.   Dave Matthews Band  $ 41.1
12. Billy Joel $ 39.1 
  13.  Roger Waters  $ 38.3
14. Bruce Springsteen
& The E Street Band 
$ 38.2
15.  Hanna Montana
/ Miley Cyrus 
$ 36
16.   Elton John $ 35.7 
17. Jimmy Buffett  $ 35.6 
18.    Barry Manilow $ 34.8
19.  Toby Keith $ 34.3 
20.   Maná $ 33.9

(Based on total dollar volume of tickets sold)

Source: Pollstar


An interesting side note: The average price of concert tickets (sold through StubHub’s secondary market)  in 2007 was $117 — a price decrease of $28 per ticket compared to 2006. Note that these are not face value, but secondary (scalped) tickets.

Highest Average Ticket Price of 2007

1. Celine Dion $ 347
2. Elton John $ 260 
3.  Hannah Montana  $ 257
4. Eric Clapton $ 253 
5.  Bon Jovi  $ 239 
6. Bruce Springsteen $ 226
7. Van Halen $ 217 
8.  Genesis $ 210
9.  The Police  $ 209 
10. Michael Buble  $ 195

(For tours that sold over 3,000 total tickets)

Source: CNN Money, Stubhub


You something unusual is occurring in the economy when consumers pull back on their entertainment spending . . .



CDs Are Dying. Are DVDs Next?
Eric Savitz
Tech Trader Daily, December 21, 2007, 2:36 pm

Big media sees reversal of fortune
Georg Szalai
Hollywood Reporter,
Dec 11, 2007

December 4, 2007

The Police Lock Top 2007 Tours Spot
Wednesday, Dec 26, 2007 1:02PM

U.S. concert business slumps despite reunion tours
Dean Goodman
Reuters, Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:44pm EST

2007 StubHub Concert Ticket Annual Report 2007
December 05, 2007: 06:12 PM EST

The Life Cycle of a CD or DVD

Category: Digital Media, Music, Video

NYC Bargains for Europeans

Category: Consumer Spending, Currency, Real Estate, Retail

Shiller: Single-family Housing Market is “Grim”

Category: Credit, Real Estate