Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The level of new and existing home sales are very important to the health of the economy. New home sales create construction jobs and retail sales in electronics and appliances, building and garden sales, and furniture sales. Existing home sales also spur similar sales as home sellers get heir homes ready for market or home buyers prep their home for moving in day. The new construction report last week revealed that  New Home Starts, New Home Completions and New Homes in Construction were all up from July of 2016. All three categories had their highest July levels since July 2007. Put another way, Started, Under Construction, and Completed Units were higher than July 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, through 2016. This was projected in the July Housing Forecast Article. That same article projected that we could see 60,000 new homes sold and that we could see a and average sales price of $384,900. More generally, it was expected that we would see improvement over last July's new home sales unit level and average sales price level. The questions are: How are we doing over the past twelve months, where are we heading the remainder of the year, and how are we doing from a historic basis?

Good News - Not Great News. The good news, unless you are buying a new home, is that the average new home sales price hit a record high for the month of July. It was thought that it could go even higher, based on annual growth in the average sales price. The number of units fell a little from last July. It is still higher than where we were during July 1990, or the month of July between 2008 and 2015. One month does not make a trend.

The Rolling Year Sales Stands at 594,000 Units. There was a slight tick down from last month's value of 599,000 units. We are doing better than July 1992 when we saw a RY value of 568,000. We were at 631,000 units during July 1993. The readers of this column know that there have been numerous articles describing how we are still in a recovery mode. The trend line is higher. The official annual rate of sales dropped from 630,000 to 571,000.  How is that possible?

The Current Year Sales level is heading towards 622,000 Units. This number is closer to the annual rate o sales that was reported for June of this year (630,000.) We have been bouncing between 599,000 and 638,000 between January and June of this year. We sold 608,000 home for all of 1992 and 622,000 during 1983. The running year, or rolling year, data is 47,000 higher than 1983 and 26,000 higher than July 1992.

Prior Months has Seen upward revisions in units sold and downward revisions in Average Sales Price. Even though the number of units sold was 5,000 fewer than July 2016, the upward revisions to the sales data mean that we are still trending with 1983. This would be a huge improvement from last year's volume of 561,000.  A ten percent (10.51%)  increase, year over year, would normally be receiving headlines under a different President. Last year 346,000 units had been sold year to date. This year we have seen 379,000 units sold year to date. This is 9.53% ahead of last year's pace.

There are more new homes for sale now than last year. We are on track to sell more homes than last year. New home sales prices are better than last year. The historical perspective mentioned in the opening of this article shows that there could have been an error made in the annual rate of sales reported in the official report. While we may not be trending for 630,000 units, something over 610,000 is very likely. Right now we are trending at 26,000 units above the 1992 RY level - so we could exceed 630,000 units for the current year. We are trending 47,000 units above the RY of 1983. Could we hit 665,000 units? Time will tell. Wait. There is a reporter name Robert Lee covering Sports in Virginia - Bury this story.

It's the economy.