Government statisticians have low confidence in the monthly report on new-home sales, which is subject to large revisions and large sampling and other statistical errors. In most months, the government isn’t sure whether sales rose or fell. The standard error in July, for instance, was plus or minus 13.4%.
The government says it can take up to five months to establish a statistically meaningful trend in sales. Over the past five months, sales have been on a 373,000-unit annual pace, up from 358,000 in the five months through June.
For all of 2008, 485,000 homes were sold. In 2007, it was 776,000. Sales in April, May and June were revised higher in the latest report. Sales increased 9.1% in June to a 395,000 pace, up from 384,000 reported earlier. Economists had expected July’s sales of new homes to come in at 395,000, according to a survey conducted by MarketWatch (vs 433k)
Nicely contextualized . . .
New Home Sales Data: Don’t rely On It Either (November 30th, 2005)
New Home Sales Up, but beware double digit monthly gains (May 24th, 2007)
New Residential Sales
Commerce Department Census Division
New-home sales jump nearly 10% in July
MarketWatch, Aug 26, 2009