New Home Sales: Upward Revisions To December Suggest Stabilization

March 14, 2019
Bottom Line: The Census Bureau released the delayed January New Home sales report showing slightly slower sales in the first month of 2019. But there were upward revisions to December data. While the trend is still towards modestly slower sales, there were signs of stabilization with the upward revisions. The last three months have averaged sales of 629k annualized, sharply faster than the pace of the last six months (608k) and even a touch faster than the 12-month pace of 624k. New Home Sales FELL to 607k, after the prior month was revised higher to 652k. This compared with market expectations for an increase to 622k, from the unrevised December level of 621k. Sales are now 4.1% BELOW their year ago level, -- but they are still 56.3% BELOW their July 2005 peak. The Inventory of Homes Available for Sale FELL by 1.5% to 336k. Inventories are now 13.9% ABOVE their year ago level but still 41.3% BELOW their July 2006 peak level. Combined with the decline in sales, the Months' Supply increased to 6.6 months from 6.3 months. This is modestly ABOVE a normal level of 6.0 months and well BELOW its peak of 12.2 in January 2009. Home Prices FELL with median prices 3.8% BELOW their year ago level and with average prices 1.2% BELOW their year ago level.