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The Week Ahead: A Tough Road for Home Sales

for-saleLast month, new single-family home sales failed to impress, dropping nearly 10 percent, while existing-home sales saw little movement. Many in the industry are a bit skeptical of a turnaround this month due to a lack of inventory.

According to data estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD, new single-family home sales in January 2016 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000, down 9.2 percent from the revised December rate of 544,000 and 5.2 percent below the January 2015 estimate of 521,000.

Ralph B. McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia noted, "New home sales in January start off weak, but the 12-month rolling total looks solid. The share of new homes purchased that haven't started construction sits near a 10-year high, likely reflecting a fall in inventory of existing homes. All new home sales numbers from the U.S. Census are extremely volatile: the margin of error is wide and often includes zero, which means we can't be certain whether the month-over-month or year-over-year changes actually increased, decreased, or stayed flat."

The existing-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) proves that lenders are well on the path to recovery from TRID delays.  The report found that existing-home sales increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million in January from a downwardly revised 5.45 million in December. Existing sales are now 11.0 percent higher than a year ago, the highest annual rate in six months and the largest year-over-year gain since 16.3 percent July 2013.

Supply and demand troubles have been constant burdens on the housing market's recovery, and Ten-X.com (formerly Auction.com) predicts that existing-home sales will be affected by the lack of options in the market.

Ten-X's Residential Real Estate Nowcastten shows that existing-home sales for February 2016 are expected to fall  between 5.23 and 5.58 million annual sales, with a targeted number of 5.4 million. This number is up 10.4 percent year-over-year, but down 1.3 percent month-over-month.

"Following the temporary market setbacks brought on by the implementation of the CFPB’s ‘Know Before You Owe’ rules, the latest sales figures indicate that housing is starting off the year on solid ground,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “Several positive underlying fundamentals–particularly a stronger labor market and improved household spending power due to reduced energy expenses–should lead to a rise in home sales despite growing global economic concerns and relatively weak GDP growth.”

Here is the lineup for the week:

Monday, March 21, 2016 

National Association of Realtors- Existing Home Sales
10:00 AM (EST)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Federal Housing Finance Agency- House Price Index
9:00 AM (EST)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Census Bureau and HUD-New Home Sales
10:00 AM (EST)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bureau of Economic Analysis- GDP
8:30 AM (EST)

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