New home sales increase again in May;   Inventory continues to decline

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-real-estate-new-home-salesToday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau released new home sales data for May 2012 showing an increase of 7.6 percent from the month before, and an increase of 19.8 percent from a year ago. The seasonally-adjusted new home sales rate for May was 369,000 homes, up from a revised rate of 343,000 homes the month before. The supply of new homes on the market decreased to a 4.7 month supply from a revised 5.0 months the month before. The median new home price decreased slightly to $234,500 from a revised median price of $236,000 the month before and increased 5.6 percent from a year ago when the median new home price was $222,000.

My Mantra

As has been my long-running mantra, I don’t like “seasonally adjusted” numbers and “rate” of sales. Why, for one I can’t figure out how in the world they compute the numbers. Second, I just don’t think discussing the “rate” of new home sales paints a realistic picture of the market.

Here is the raw data, the ACTUAL new homes sold- no fluff, no “adjusting” For May 2012:

  • 35,000 new homes sold, up from 33,000 the month before and up from 28,000 a year ago.
    • As usual, the South had the majority of the new home sales with 19,000 this month (54.2 percent of the total in US) up from 16,000 the prior month.
    • the west region had 8,000 new homes sold down from 9,000 the prior month.
    • the Midwest had 4,000 new homes sold down from 5,000 the prior month.
    • The Northeast had 4,000 new homes sold up from 3,000 the prior month.
  • New Homes in the US in sold during the month been for sale for a median time of 7.9months since the homes were completed the same as in the prior month.

What’s in store for 2012?

Mortgage delinquency rates and foreclosure rates have ticked up slightly recently, but are still at reduced rates which will begin lessening the downward impact on home prices foreclosures put on the market, which will be the first step toward stabilizing prices. I think it’s going to be a long process to get us back to the point where where existing home prices will increase to the point that there is not such a giant premium to pay for a new home as there is today, therefore I’m going to forecast a modest increase and am expecting to see somewhere between 304,000 – 334,000 new homes sold in 2012.

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