US New Home Sales, Apartment Inventory: March and 1Q 2018

US New Home Sales, Apartment Inventory: March and 1Q 2018

According to the US Census Bureau and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development last week, sales of new homes in the US rose by +4% over the month of March to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000. Year-to-date, covering 1Q 2018, the total number of new homes sold is +10.3% ahead of its pace over the first three quarters of 2017. The increase in new home sales over the month also reflects a +7.9% upward revision in sales over February from an initial estimate of 618,000, illustrating the volatility in the data and subsequent revisions. New home sales for

March were reported at 694,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR). This was well above the consensus forecast, and the three previous months were revised up, combined. Solid growth, and the next five months will be an easy comparison to 2017.

In other news, the US National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) said Wednesday the US Apartment Market Tightness Index increased two points to 38. This was the tenth consecutive quarter of overall declining conditions. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported looser market conditions than three months prior, compared to only 14 percent who reported tighter conditions. Meanwhile, nearly half of respondents (47 percent) felt that conditions were no different from last quarter.

US New Home Sales

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000, according to estimates released jointly last week by the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is +4% above the revised February rate of 667,000 and is +8.8% above the March 2017 estimate of 638,000.

The months of supply decreased in March to 5.2 months from 5.4 months in February.

Year-to-date, covering 1Q 2018, the total number of new homes sold is +10.3% ahead of its pace over the first three quarters of 2017. The increase in new home sales over the month also reflects a +7.9% upward revision in sales over February from an initial estimate of 618,000, illustrating the volatility in the data and subsequent revisions.

In February, national home price appreciation continued, but at a slower pace than last month. Meanwhile, among all 20 metro areas which are covered by under the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, released last week, only Washington, DC, recorded growth that lagged the nationwide rate of appreciation.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released for February 2018 indicated that home prices nationwide, the National Home Price Index, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of +6.3% in February, modestly slower than the +6.7% increase in January.

The purchase-only Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of +7.8% in February, down from the +10.9% increase in January, confirming the deceleration in home prices.

 

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