US Home Sales, Home Prices, Building Lot Shortage

The US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released data Tuesday showing the pace of new home sales came in at 619,000 on an annualized basis, increasing 16.6 per cent on a monthly basis and 23.8 per cent year-over-year.

US Home Sales: April 2016

New home inventory ticked down to 243,000 homes for sale this month, which represents only a 4.7 months’ supply at the elevated April sales pace. If sales remain near the current estimated rate, new single-family housing starts will need to accelerate to meet the rising demand. Of the total inventory of new homes listed for sale, only 56,000 consisted of completed, ready-to-occupy homes.

The Pending Home Sales Index soared 5.1 per cent in April to the highest level in over a decade, and has in- creased year-over-year for 20 consecutive months. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased to 116.3 in April from an upwardly revised 110.7 in March, and is 4.6 per cent above the same month a year ago.

SOURCE: National Association of Home Builders, Eye on Housing
SOURCE: National Association of Home Builders, Eye on Housing

Existing Home Sales: April 2016

Existing sales continued upward by 1.7 per cent in April, and the strong Pending Home Sales Index report plus low mortgage rates suggest a continuing steady recovery through the summer. However, the long-term weakness among first-time buyers continues to dampen all sales in 2016.

SOURCE: Calculated Risk
SOURCE: Calculated Risk

US House Prices: April 2016

As part of the new home sales report, the Census Bureau reported the number of homes sold by price and the average and median prices,“The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2016 was US$321,100; the average sales price was US$379,800.”

During the housing bust, the builders had to build smaller and less expensive homes to compete with all the distressed sales. When housing started to re- covery – with limited finished lots in recovering areas – builders moved to higher price points to maximize profits.

The average price in April 2016 was US$379,800 and the median price was US$321,100. Both are above the bubble high (this is due to both a change in mix and rising prices).

The median is at a new high.

Less than 2 per cent of new homes sold were under US$150K in April 2016. This is down from 30 per cent in 2002. The under US$150K new home is prob- ably going away.

SOURCE: Calculated Risk
SOURCE: Calculated Risk

Federal Housing Finance Agency

Elsewhere, US home prices rose 5.7 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier as buyers competed for a limited supply of listings, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a report Wednesday from Washington, DC

Prices climbed 1.3 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous three months, the 19th consecutive quarterly gain.

Prices in March rose 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from February, the FHFA said.

The FHFA index measures transactions for single-family properties financed with mortgages owned or securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It doesn’t provide specific prices. The national median price of an existing single-family home was US$217,600 in the first quarter, up 6.3 per cent from a year earlier, National Association of Realtors data show.

Home prices have risen as job growth brings out more buyers in a market starved for choices. There were 1.98 million houses for sale at the end of March, down 1.5 per cent from the same month last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. While the US has a whole had robust gains, prices fell from the previous quarter in 12 states and the District of Columbia, the FHFA said.