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New Home Sales Biggest Monthly Decline In History- A Warning Shot

New Home Sales Vs. Population

The Commerce Department reported today that sales of newly built homes posted a seasonally adjusted month to month decline of 7.6% to an annualized rate of 609,000. This was near the consensus guess of economists of 602,000 according to the Wall Street Journal. In terms of the game of pin the tail on the donkey-economists it was a non-event.

The Commerce Department also reported that the August headline number was up 20.6% year to year. That sounds good until you look at the actual data.

The actual, unmanipulated figures showed a total of 50,000 new homes sold in August, compared with 57,000 in July, a drop of -12.3%. That was much worse than the typical month to month decline in August. Last year the August drop was -4.7% month to month. The average August decline for the prior 10 years was -5.6%. In fact, this was the largest August month to month decline in history, going back to 1963 when the Federal Government began collecting this data.

This August had the advantage of 2 more business days than August 2015 possibly giving the August numbers a boost. New home sales are counted at the time they go under contract. While sales contracts can be signed on weekends in this business, it’s the exception. The numbers were the worst in history, even with that boost. In cases like this, economists usually blame the weather. I guess it was too hot to buy houses. Global warming, yeah, that’s the ticket!

Read the rest of this post and view all the charts at David Stockman’s Contra Corner. 

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