The seasonally adjusted annual pace of new single-family home sales in the U.S. ticked up to 323,000 in April, up 7.3 percent from a revised rate of 301,000 in March but still down 23.1 percent versus the 420,000 pace recorded in April 2010.
Preliminary U.S. new home sales (versus pace) in April were estimated to be 32,000 (give or take 8 percent), the same as in April 2009, the lowest Aprils on record since 1982.
In the West, the pace of new home sales was down 20.8 percent year-over-year to 84,000, up 15.1 percent versus the month before.
New Residential Sales: February 2011 [census.gov]
New Residential Sales Since 1963 [census.gov]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Alli

    There is always spin and bias in reporting.
    Can you identify the “bear” or negative spin?
    (Getting predictable)
    WALL STREET JOURNAL
    Behind the Numbers: A Surprise From New-Home Sales. How’s this for a surprise? New-home sales rose more than expected in April, a bit of good news for the beaten-down building sector.
    BARRONS
    New Home Sales Rose in April; Data Sends Homebuilder Stocks Up
    CNBC
    CNBC’s Diana Olick reports on the unexpected rise in new home sales; stabilizing in the commercial real estate market
    REUTERS
    US New Home Sales at 4 month high; supply drops
    CNN
    New-Home sales up for 2nd straight month
    SOCKETSITE
    U.S. New Home Sales: Down 23% In April Year-Over-Year
    [Editor’s Note: Talk about spin, if you’re going to compare first sentences or paragraphs, try using our as well. And yes, our headline number is year-over-year as it is every month, be it up or down. It’s not bearish or negative, it simply is what it is.]

  2. Posted by sfrenegade

    Also 7.3% up from almost nothing is 107% of nothing and nothing impressive. :) 23% down from almost nothing is pretty impressive because you thought you could only go up.
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2011/05/misc-home-sales-distressing-gap.html
    editor — should that say April instead of February?
    [Editor’s Note: Yes and since corrected. Cheers.]

  3. Posted by PostIt

    2010 federal tax credit expired in April 2010 screws with YOY comparisons…see CR chart for an illustration: http://bit.ly/ioBQZ3
    Expect national May numbers to look strongly positive YOY.
    As tipster pointed out recently, the effect of tax credits on CA is slightly different from the national market due to timing of the separate CA housing stimulus credit.

  4. Posted by sfrenegade

    “Expect national May numbers to look strongly positive YOY.”
    I’m assuming the tax credit pulled some sales forward from future months. New homes stats are also different from existing home stats, since the sale is recorded when the contract is signed, instead of at the close of escrow.

  5. Posted by sfrenegade

    By the way, on the heels of “Too Big to Fail” being aired by HBO, Geithner says:
    “”We’re sort of three or four years into the housing repair, you could say. But we’ve got several more years to go. Again just realistically I think it’s going to take time still to heal that.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/25/us-usa-economy-geithner-housing-idUSTRE74O3SG20110525

  6. Posted by A.T.

    The public seems to agree with Mr. Geithner:
    “Trulia and RealtyTrac Survey Reveals 54 Percent of American Adults Now Believe Housing Recovery Remains Unlikely Until 2014 or Later”
    http://www.realtytrac.com/content/press-releases/trulia-and-realtytrac-survey-reveals-54-percent-of-american-adults-now-believe-housing-recovery-remains-unlikely-until-2014-or-later-6581
    Market expectations are a huge factor and become a self-fulfilling prophesy. When everyone “knew” in 2005 that home prices would keep going up and up, they bid and bid and – lo and behold – prices went up. Now that a large majority is convinced home prices are not going up anytime soon, look for slack demand to continue.

  7. Posted by tc_sf

    Excusing the Bullish spin from the Journal, here’s their take on the FHFA numbers.
    “Steep Quarterly Drop For Home Prices
    Here’s some more bad news for the housing market: U.S. home prices posted the sharpest quarterly decline in more than two years in the first three months of this year, according to a government index.
    On a quarterly basis, home prices adjusted for seasonal factors were down 2.5% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2010 and were down 5.5% from the same quarter a year ago, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price index released Wednesday. It was the steepest quarterly decline since the end of 2008.

    […]
    “On a monthly basis, however, there was a bit of a silver lining. Home prices fell 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis in March from February, The monthly results were better than expected. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a 0.5% monthly decline.
    The monthly change suggests “some of the recent weakness in home prices may be abating,” wrote Barclays Capital economist Michael Gapen. However, he noted that “house prices will face headwinds as the large inventory of foreclosed properties makes its way through the market.””
    http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/05/25/steep-quarterly-drop-for-home-prices/
    Since this only covers agency loans it’s relevance to SF is limited, but it would not seem to bode well for the finances of Fannie/Freddie.

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