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The Week Ahead: What Path Will New Home Sales Take?

for-saleAfter a month-to-month dip in October, sales of new single-family homes November rebounded more than 5 percent nationally, according to the November 2016 New Residential Sales Report from HUD and the Census Bureau.

Sales of new single-family houses in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000, compared to 563,000 in October. Moreover, November’s figures were 16.5 percent above what they were a year earlier.

What will new home sales do in December? The industry will find out when HUD and the Census Bureau jointly release the December 2016 New Residential Sales Report on Thursday, January 26.

“Rising interest rates in 2017 will damper some growth for sales of new and existing-home sales,” said Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, “but favorable demographics, ongoing job creation, and rising wages will cause new home sales to continue to expand next year.”

NAR, Existing-Home Sales for December 2016, Tuesday, January 24

Existing-home sales in November 2016 rose by 0.7 percent from October up to an annual rate of 5.61 million (15 percent higher than a year earlier), the third consecutive month with an increase.

Will December make it four for existing-home sales, and will existing-home sales end 2016 on a positive note? The industry will find out on Tuesday, January 24, when the National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes the existing-home sales report for December 2016.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said it was outstanding three-month period for existing-home sales from September to November.

“The healthiest job market since the Great Recession and the anticipation of some buyers to close on a home before mortgage rates accurately rose from their historically low level have combined to drive sales higher in recent months,” Yun said. “Furthermore, it's no coincidence that home shoppers in the Northeast—where price growth has been tame all year—had the most success last month.”

Distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, increased from 5 to 6 percent from October to November but were down from 9 percent over-the-year. Foreclosed homes were discounted 17 percent and short sales were discounted 16 percent from market value in November, according to NAR.

Tuesday, January 24
NAR, Existing Home Sales for December 2016, 10 a.m. EST

Wednesday, January 25
FHFA, House Price Index for November 2016, 9 a.m. EST

Thursday, January 26
HUD/Census Bureau, New Residential Sales for December 2016, 10 a.m. EST

Friday, January 27
Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP “Advance” estimate for Q4, 8:30 a.m. EST
University of Michigan, Consumer Sentiment for January 2017, 10 a.m. EST

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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