10 Updates

New Home Sales Drop 14.5% In March, Underlining A Slowing Housing Market

Apr 23 2014, 11:18am CDT | by

Sales of newly-constructed homes fell by 14.5% in March, a significant drop underscoring that the housing market is indeed slowing down. New single-family homes sold at an annual pace of 384,000 (...

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13 weeks ago

New Home Sales Drop 14.5% In March, Underlining A Slowing Housing Market

Apr 23 2014, 11:18am CDT | by

Sales of newly-constructed homes fell by 14.5% in March, a significant drop underscoring that the housing market is indeed slowing down.

New single-family homes sold at an annual pace of 384,000 (seasonally adjusted) according to data released Wednesday by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s a pace that is 13.3% slower than the sales rate one year earlier.

Although newly-constructed single-family homes have in recent months comprised 10% or less of the market, they are a a timely gauge of market conditions because they catch sales at the earliest possible moment: when a contract is signed. Earlier this week, the National Association of Realtors  report on existing (previously owned) home sales–which measures a transaction at closings–revealed that sales also fell in March, reaching their lowest level since July 2012.

The overall housing market had been steadily recovering, with sales of new single-family homes steadily ticked up during  2011 and 2012. However, last summer saw a dramatic drop in new home sales. We’ve been steadily climbing out of the trough since–until this March. Wednesday’s new home sales data sharply missed predictions by economists surveyed by Bloomberg , who forecast new single-family home sales for March 2013 of between 440,000 and 470,0000.

Existing home sales, on the other hand, have been sluggish for several months. Rising prices and mortgage rates, an inventory shortage, and this year’s screaming winter have all contributed to the sluggish pace.

The median sales price of new homes sold in March was $290,000, the highest rate ever. The government agencies estimated that the (seasonally adjusted) supply of new single-family homes for sale at the end of March was 193,000. That represents about a 6-month supply, which is considered a healthy housing market.

Wednesday’s data on new single-family home sales reveals that the March 2014 sales rate was the lowest since July 2013, when it stood at an annual pace of 373,000 (seasonally adjusted).  In February, the rate was 449,000 (seasonally adjusted). One year earlier, in March 2013, the rate was 443,000.

Other measures indicate a bit of unease regarding the future. Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes stood at a level of 47 in April, according to the latest read from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index . A score of 50 or greater indicates that more builders view market conditions as good than poor.

And although housing starts (or groundbreakings) rose 2.8% in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 946,000, the pace is still 5.9% lower than the rate one year earlier. Building permits, a good indicator of the future, stood at 990,000 (seasonally adjusted) in March. That’s 2.4% below the revised February rate, the fourth drop over the last five months.

As usual, the data varies by region. Sales of new single-family homes are up in the Northeast, but down in the South, Midwest, and West.

Trulia released a report Wednesday indicating that homes are actually moving off the market this spring a tad more quickly than the year before. The report, which compared homes for sale on the Trulia site in mid-February and in mid-April, showed that houses at the lowest end of the pricing scale are moving most quickly: 49% of homes at the low end that were for sale two months ago are still listed today, compared with 53% of mid-priced homes and 62% of the high-price tier.

“Homes for sale are moving fastest in markets with recent price gains, as well as in markets where supply is perennially tight,” said Jed Kolko in an e-mail to FORBES. “The fact that the low-price tier is moving fastest is yet another hurdle for first-time homebuyers: not only do potential first-timers face declining affordability and a slow jobs recovery, but the homes they can afford aren’t waiting on the market for them.”

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Melbourne Rising Media Launch
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minist ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the sout ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compensation. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Moh ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocatio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Baz ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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