Given July’s disaster, August’s new home sales report from the Census Bureau has outsized importance.
July’s 394,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales came in over 20% below June’s original number, which was itself revised down 8%. The previous three months (April, May, and June) were revised down by a total of 69,000 units.
So here’s the “before” shot:
Business Insider is predicting 420,000, which would be an improvment, but still the second worst number this year.
HERE IT IS (link):
Sales of new single-family houses in August 2013 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 7.9 percent (±14.6%)* above the revised July rate of 390,000 and is 12.6 percent (±15.3%)* above the August 2012 estimate of 374,000.
So the prediction for August was on target, but July dropped back a bit more. So did June (-1,000) and May (-10,000 to 429,000), for a total three-month fallback of 15,000. That’s on top of the 69,000 in April-June downward revisions turned in last month.
The raw data tells us that only 35,000 homes were actually sold in August. That’s lower than the 36,000 sold in August 2009, shortly after the recession officially ended.
What was that about a “housing recovery”?
I wrote last week that Ben Bernanke’s move to keep QE where it is shouldn’t have been such a surprise. This news confirms that contention. As Bernanke himself said a few months ago, “the economy would tank” without it.
UPDATE, 10:50 p.m.: Zero Hedge — “Median New Home Price Drops To Lowest Since January 2013″