Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The TRUTH on the latest housing figures...

Don't be misled by this week's housing numbers. The seasonally adjusted sales rates for both new and existing homes in March topped expectations. So is this bubble talk a bunch of hogwash? Hardly. Consider the devilish details of the latest housing reports ...

Used home sales actually dropped 0.7% from a year earlier, even though they rose from February to April. More importantly, for-sale inventory jumped 39.1% YOY. At 3.19 million units, inventory is the highest in U.S. history. I don't know about you, but when I see supply jump more than 39% and demand slip slightly, I see a market that's in a heap of trouble. Meanwhile, median price growth rates are decelerating fast.

So what about new homes? Well, the increase in the sales rate for March barely offset the drops in January and February. YOY, sales dropped more than 6%. And for-sale inventory set yet another all-time high (this has been happening month in and month out). Lastly, builders were only able to move homes by cutting prices. The median price of a new home DROPPED 2.2%
year-over-year to $224,200. Average prices fell 3.6% to $279,100.

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. And in this case, the statistics the headline writers looked at do NOT tell the real story.


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