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Behind The New Home Sales Data — A Darker Backdrop

There’s so much great data in the Commerce Department’s monthly new home sales report. It’s always useful to parse it for all the tasty morsels that the mainstream media ignores. We’ll take a look at some of it here, with more to come in the days ahead.

First let’s look at the usual positive spin given the report in the mainstream media which is usually devoid of historical perspective whatsoever. It’s always about the short run. The Wall Street Journal’s headline said it all.

U.S. New-Home Sales Posted Solid Gain in First Half of 2016

Solid pace offers fresh evidence of healthy momentum in the U.S. housing market as home-buyers enjoy low interest rates

All of that is true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. To his credit, the Journal’s Ben Leubsdorf noted in the body of the article that “the pace of home construction and purchases of new homes remain depressed compared with levels seen during past economic expansions” but he never addressed just how weak those sales are.

Here’s some perspective.

Sales have nearly doubled from the June 2010 and June 2011 lows of 28,000 to this June’s 54,000. But this is still down sharply from the June 2005 peak of 115,000 units. At the same time, it barely exceeds the low of 47,000 reached in June 1991 and 53,000 in June 1992 during that recession.

New Home Sales Long Term- Click to enlarge

Read the rest of this post at David Stockman’s Contra Corner, where first published.

Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also publish, and was lead analyst for Sure Money Investor, of blessed memory. I developed David Stockman's Contra Corner for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs since 1972, including a stint on Wall Street in both sales, analytical, and trading capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I was a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I was considered an expert in the analysis of failed properties that ended up in the hands of bank REO divisions, the FDIC, and the RTC. Remember those guys? I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. I'm not some Ivory Tower academic, Wall Street guy. My perspective comes from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches, as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, trader, account rep, and analyst. I've watched most of the games these Wall Street wiseguys play from right up close. I know the drill from my 55 years of paying attention. And I'm happy to share that experience with you, right here. 

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