Sunday, March 25, 2007

New Home Sales Due on Monday Morning

There's some mystery and intrigue into why the two charts above differ so much. One is a chart of New Home Sales which are reported by the guba-mint; the other is a chart of Existing Home Sale reported by the National Association of Realtors (or Realators as some people are prone to incorrectly say). On Friday the NAR reported a 3.9% surge in sales during February - some noting that the February NAR figures were stale since they reflected closings on sales dating as far back as 60 days before. But there may be a more sinister force distorting and boosting the figures. Does the February data involve an onslaught of unhealthy short sales and did Trustee Sales (the completion of a foreclosure process) also distorting the February picture? The tell tale sign of lacking health in the NAR data is the rise in housing inventories. And to my questions about short sales and foreclosure transfer of title, I can't find out for sure if that was the case.

Maybe I'll have my answer tomorrow. If we see a spike in New Home Sales which are not subject to desperation short sales or completion of foreclosures, or even the desperation sale of 2nd homes (which could also be a problem in the existing home series) - then perhaps housing did see a real rebound in February. After a 16.6% tumble in January, New Home Sales are forecast to modestly rebound to a 980,000 annual rate in February, from 937k in January.

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