New Home Sales Slip In February

Sales of “new homes” fell to the lowest levels in four months last month.

According to the Census Bureau’s monthly New Home Sales report, 313,000 new homes were sold in February 2012 on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis, representing a 1.6% drop from the month prior.

A “new home” is a home for which there has been no prior owner nor tenant.

At first glance, the data looks negative for the housing market; a suggestion that the well-publicized housing market recovery may be slowed. However, within February’s New Home Sales report are three important counter-statistics worth mentioning.

First, although annualized home sales volume slipped 5,000 units in February, this occurred as the number of homes for sale nationwide remained constant at 150,000. This is the fewest number of new homes for sale since at least 1993 — the first year that the Census Bureau tracked such data.

A small home supply promotes rising home values when buyer demand is rising and, in February, buyer demand held firm.

A second reason to remain optimistic on housing is that New Home Supply was 5.8 months in February. This means that, at the current pace of sales, the entire new home inventory will be “sold out” in 5.8 months.

Housing experts say that when home supplies fall below 6.0 months, it’s bullish for housing.

And, as a third reason to look past the New Home Sales headline figure, last month’s reporting Margin of Error was huge.

According to the government, the February New Home Sales data was published with a ±23.9% margin of error. This means that the actual New Home Sales sales volume may have dropped as much as -25.5%, or may have climbed by as much as +22.3%.

Because the range of possible values includes both positive and negative numbers, the Census Bureau assigned its February data the “zero confidence” label.

It will be several months before February’s New Home Sales data is revised. Until then, buyers in Atlanta would do well to take cues from the real estate market-at-large which shows steady, gradual improvement.

If your 2012 housing plans call for buying new construction, consider using February’s results as a window to “make a deal”. As the year progresses, great values in housing may be gone for good.

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

Building Permits On The Rise

The new construction housing market appears primed for growth this season.

According to the Census Bureau, the number of single-family building permits issued in February rose to 472,000 on a seasonally-adjusted, annual basis, marking the highest building permit tally since April 2010 — the last month of that year’s federal home buyer tax credit program.

Building permits are a pre-cursor to new home construction.

In 2011, from the date of permit-issuance to the date of “ground-breaking”, an average of 27 calendar days passed. February’s data, therefore, is a signal that the market for newly-built homes should be strong this year, an idea supported by the most recent homebuilder confidence survey.

As buyer foot traffic soars, homebuilders expect to make more sales in the next 6 months than at any time since the housing market’s collapse. Builder confidence is at a 5-year high.

Last month, however, single-family housing starts slipped.

As compared to January, February’s single-family housing starts fell by 50,000 units on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis. The 10% drop represents the largest one-month drop since February 2011. It’s a statistic that may suggest that this year’s results are simply seasonal.

For buyers of new construction, the news is mixed.

Rising permits and builder confidence may mean that Canton homebuilders will be less willing to negotiate with today’s buyer on upgrades and/or home prices. However, as more new home supply is set to come online, excess housing stock could help keep home prices low.

If you’re planning to buy new construction in GA this year, be sure to ask your real estate agent about the local home supply, and how the market is currently trending. With mortgage rates low and the summer buying season approaching, you may find some of your best deals of the year available in just the next few weeks.

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

Pending Home Sales Rise To 22-Month High

Pending Home Sales Index 2011-2012The Atlanta housing market appears headed for a strong spring season.  This exciting news for home sellers in the Atlanta market.  Home buyers are still finding great deals, but not sure how long that might last.

After a brief setback in December, the Pending Home Sales Index resumed its climb in January, posting a 2 percent gain over the month prior.

The data puts pressure on Atlanta home buyers. This is because a “pending home” is a home that’s under contract to sell, but has not yet sold. It’s tracked by the National Association of REALTORS® and, among all housing statistics, it’s the only one that’s “forward-looking”.

The Pending Home Sales Index is important to home buyers throughout GA because 80% of homes under contract to sell close within 60 days of contract. In this way, the Pending Home Sales Index forecasts the housing market 1-2 months into the future.

This is very different from how NAR’s Existing Home Sales report works; or, how the Census Bureau’s New Home Sales report works. These two metrics tell us what’s already happened in housing.

By contrast, the Pending Home Sales Index tells us what’s coming next.

January’s Pending Home Sales Index reading lifts the monthly metric to its highest level since April 2010 — the month during which the 2010 federal home buyer tax credit expired — foreshadowing a strong housing market through March and April 2012, at least.

This should not be news, of course. The nation’s home builders have said “foot traffic” is rising and home supplies are scarce nationwide. The only wild-card for housing is the high contract cancellation rate.

As compared to last January when just 9 percent of home purchase contracts “failed”, this January saw 33 percent of contracts fail. High failure rates undermine the Pending Home Sales Index’s viability as a forward-looking housing market indicator.

Despite contract failures, though, the combination of low mortgage rates and low home prices is enticing to today’s Atlanta home buyers. Expect Atlanta home sales to climb in the coming weeks which will lead to a strong spring season for housing. 

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David & Bonnie Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

New Home Supply Falls To 5.6 Months

New Home Supply 2010-2012

The new construction market rolls on.

As foreshadowed by February’s Homebuilder Confidence survey, which rose to a 4-year high, the Census Bureau reports new homes are selling more quickly than builders have built them, lowering the national “home supply” to levels not seen since 2006.

A “new home” is a home that is considered new construction and, at the current pace of sales, the nation’s entire new home inventory of 151,000 homes would be sold in 5.6 months.

Anything less than 6.0-month supply is thought to connote a “sellers’ market”.

321,000 new homes were sold last month on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis. 7 of 10 new homes sold for less than $300,000. 

The South Region continues to account for the majority of new construction sales, posting a 59% market share in January. South Region sales were up 9 percent as compared to December. The other 3 regions turned in mixed results. 

  • Northeast Region : +11.1% from December 2011 
  • Midwest Region : -24.5% from December 2011 
  • West Region : -10.6% from December 2011 

Unfortunately, the Census Bureau’s New Home Sales data could be wrong.

Although New Home Sales were said to fall by about one percent nationally from December to January, the government’s monthly report was footnoted with a ±16.6% margin of error. This means that the actual New Home Sales reading may have been as high as +15%, or as low as -18%. 

Because the range of values includes positive and negative values, the January New Home Sales data is of “zero confidence”. However, that’s not to say that it should be ignored. The aforementioned homebuilder confidence survey shows builders optimistic for the future, and a bevy of home sale data since October 2011 suggests a market in recovery.

If you’re in the market for new construction in Canton , therefore, consider going into contract sooner rather than later. Home prices remain low and mortgage rates do, too — a terrific combination for today’s Atlanta home buyers.

In a few months, the landscape may look different.

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David & Bonnie Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website.