Monday, March 26, 2007

New Home Sales Drop 3.9%

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For more information -- and some great graphs -- see Calculated Risk

First -- this report has an incredibly large confidence interval. That simply means the actual number could be plus or minus 17.4.

The information is from the Census Bureau

Sales are down 18.3% from February of last year.

There is now an 8.1 month supply of available inventory. That's a ton of homes.

The total raw inventory level has increased from 538,000 in February 2006 to 546,000 in February 2007. Remember we saw housing starts increase 9% in February. That means we've got more inventory coming onto the market. My guess is the homebuilders were expecting demand to pick-up a bit this year. These recent starts could mean the market may build an unwanted inventory glut.

The Northest and Midwest saw big drops -- 27% and 20%, respectively. The weather will be blamed for some of this. The West saw a 24.6% increase. That number doesn't make sense. I am guessing we'll see a revision of that number or the January number sometime soon.

Also remember that lending standards have tightened over the last few months. That means there will be fewer buyers going forward.

Also -- the median price increased from 243,200 to 250,000. It doesn't make sense for prices to increase in a decreasing sales market.

The bottom line is this report stinks for the housing market.