New Homes Sales Disappoint Forecasts

real estateDoug Short: This morning’s release of the March New Single-Family Homes Sales from the Census Bureau at 481K disappointed expectations, although the sales for the previous month were revised upward. The actual decline was 11.4%. The forecast was for 513K sales, which would have been a 5.4% decline from the previous month.

Here is the opening from the report:

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.4 percent (±18.6%)* below the revised February rate of 543,000, but is 19.4 percent (±21.8%)* above the March 2014 estimate of 403,000.   [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.

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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 an 70.4% increase in the US population since 1963.

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