New Homes Sales: 4th Drop in 6 months

No surprise here:

"New-home sales fell for the fourth time in six months during January, while
inventories climbed to another record.

Sales of single-family homes decreased 5.0% to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 1.233 million, the Commerce Department said Monday.
December new-home sales rose 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.298
million; originally, December sales were seen at 1.269 million. Sales dropped
7.0% in November, rose 7.7% in October, and sank 2.0% in September and 7.1% in
August.

Analysts say the housing sector is cooling after years of
record-breaking demand. This view has held despite an earlier report showing
January home construction climbed to a 33-year high. The surge in housing starts
was attributed to weather — it was the warmest January on record in the U.S.,
with an average temperature of 39.5 degrees.

January new-home sales fell 10.8% in the Midwest, 14.9% in the
Northeast, and 10.3% in the South. Sales climbed 11.3% in the West."

There were an estimated 528,000 homes for sale at the end of
January, which was a record. That represented a 5.2 months’ supply at the
current sales rate, the highest pace since 5.2 in November 1996. In December, an
estimated 515,000 were for sale, a 4.8 months’ inventory. An estimated 93,000
homes were actually sold last month, up from 89,000 in December, based on
figures not seasonally adjusted."

The key takeaway to me is that Inventory to sales ratio is now at a 9-year high — 5.2 months while the number of units for sale at a new record. The Affordability Index shows homes are at 15-yr. low. 

Calculated Risk has assembled numerous charts (pretty!) covering the subject; If you want to see more, that’s your next click.

Nhsjan1

courtesy of Calculated Risk

>

Sources:
Sales of New Homes Fell By 5% During January
JEFF BATER
WSJ, February 27, 2006 10:09 a.m.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114105101662684236.html

NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES IN JANUARY 2006
FEBRUARY 27, 2006 AT 10:00 A.M.
Manufacturing and Construction Division
http://www.census.gov/const/newressales.pdf

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