New Home Sales at 623,000 Annual Rate in April

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 623 thousand.

The previous three months were revised down.

Sales of new single-family houses in April 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 0.6 percent above the revised March rate of 619,000, but is 6.2 percent below the April 2019 estimate of 664,000.”
emphasis added

New Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions since 1963. The dashed line is the current sales rate.

New Home Sales haven’t fallen as much as expected during the COVID crisis.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Sales, Months of SupplyThe months of supply decreased in April to 6.3 months from 6.4 months in March.

The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009.

This is slightly above the normal range (less than 6 months supply is normal).

“The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 325,000. This represents a supply of 6.3 months at the current sales rate.”

New Home Sales, InventoryOn inventory, according to the Census Bureau:

“A house is considered for sale when a permit to build has been issued in permit-issuing places or work has begun on the footings or foundation in nonpermit areas and a sales contract has not been signed nor a deposit accepted.”

Starting in 1973 the Census Bureau broke this down into three categories: Not Started, Under Construction, and Completed.

The third graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale is still somewhat low, and the combined total of completed and under construction is close to normal.

New Home Sales, NSAThe last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).

In April 2020 (red column), 59 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year, 64 thousand homes were sold in April.

The all time high for April was 116 thousand in 2005, and the all time low for April was 30 thousand in 2011.

This was well above expectations of 490 thousand sales SAAR, however sales in the three previous months were revised down.  I’ll have more later today.