Housing Numbers Continue to Surprise

Amey Stone

This week has brought the latest monthly home sales data from the National Association of Realtors. Reading these releases is starting to be a bit of a yawn -- sales weren't quite at record levels, but darn near close to it.

Today we got new home sales figures. Sales slipped a bit to 1.24 million homes (annualized) from 1.37 in July. The slip came after a surge in July, so it isn't meaningful, notes High Frequency Economics. Plus, as the Valhalla, New York-based research firm reports, "Recent mortgage applications data suggest sales will run at about 1.35 million for the next few months; there is no sign of any trend weakening."

Monday's existing home sales showed a 2% rise to 7.29 million annualized -- the second highest level ever. Prices jumped 16.2% over last year -- the fastest rise in 26 years.

High Frequency Economics believes new home price gains are lagging existing homes because of an oversupply of new construction. The dip is simply an inventory correction, much like the one the manufacturing sector is experiencing, the firm concludes.

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