Pending Home Sales, Permits, Starts & Completions

I am stumped by the ongoing insistence that a turnaround in Housing is upon us. It simply is not in the data, as we saw sales of new homes fell 1.6%, plus or minus 23.9% (LOL).

Despite unusually warm weather, we still saw a sequential monthly drop in New Home Sales. The weather is more reflected in the year over year data — sales rate were 11.4% above February 2011 (which was a cold and snowy month last year).

Median sales prices, which are not seasonally adjusted, jumped 8.3%, but that’s primarily being driven by the property mix of whats going into contract. Anecdotally, we hear lots of lower end buyers having a hard time qualifying for mortgages.

Meanwhile, today’s Pending Home Sales Index also fell 0.5% to 96.5 in February from 97.0 in January but is 9.2% above February 2011 when it was 88.4. Note that this data reflects contracts, not closings. A sizable chunk of deals will fall apart.

I suspect tomorrow’s Case Shiller Index will be similarly disappointing to the Housing bulls.

You guys keep on bottom calling — you’ll get it right eventually!


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