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April 23, 2013

New Home Sales up. Other Fundamentals Weak.

April 23, 2013

New Home Sales up. Other Fundamentals Weak.

The good news about weaker economic data is that it keeps rates low. Rates are tracking just above lows of the year since April 5 when this happened.

New Home Sales (March 2013)

– New Home Sales (seasonally adjusted, annualized)  417,000.  Previous was 411,000.

One of the changes we are seeing is that Housing Starts are have an increased share of multifamily and a smaller share of SFR. Fewer owners (by percent), more renters. This could restrain New Home sales.

FHFA House Price Index (February 2013)

– Month/Month +0.7%.  Previous was +0.6%

– Year/Year 7.1 %. Previous was 6.5%.

These are prices for homes purchased with Fannie or Freddie financing. Part and perhaps most of the upward pressure on home prices has come from price inelasticity of demand.  In plain English, the supply has not gone up fast enough to prevent prices from rising.  Supply is still restrained by the number of would-be sellers who are underwater.

Once this inelasticity dissipates prices will flatten until such time as the jobs market is able to create more buyers.

Chain Store Sales (week ended 4/20/2013)  

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales

– Store Sales  Week/Week  +0.8%. Previous was -1.1% – Store Sales Year/Year  +1.9%.  Previous was +2.0%.

This data is weak but better only by comparison.

Redbook

Store Sales Year/Year  1.8%. Previous was 2.0%.

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index  (April 2013)

– Level change  -6. Previous two readings were +3 (March) and +6 (February.)  Manufacturing is suffering. See the PMI Index below.

PMI Manufacturing Index Flash (April 2013)

– Level  52.0. Previous was 54.9.  Anything above 50 indicates growth but more that half of the growth disappeared this month.