The previous three months were revised up sharply.
Sales of new single-family houses in March 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,021,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 20.7 percent above the revised February rate of 846,000 and is 66.8 percent above the March 2020 estimate of 612,000.
The first graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions since 1963. The dashed line is the current sales rate.
This was the highest sales rate since 2006.
The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.
The all time record high was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009. The all time record low is 3.5 months, most recently in October 2020.
This is below the low end of the normal range (about 4 to 6 months supply is normal).
“The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 307,000. This represents a supply of 3.6 months at the current sales rate.”
On 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 at a record low, and the combined total of completed and under construction is a little lower than normal.
In March 2021 (red column), 97 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year, 59 thousand homes were sold in March.
The all time high for March was 127 thousand in 2005, and the all time low for March was 28 thousand in 2011.
This was well above expectations, and sales in the three previous months were revised up sharply. I’ll have more later today.