Sales of new single-family houses in June jumped 23.6% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released Monday. Analysts were expecting a rate of 315,000.
The annualized sales pace, however, remained 16.7% below the 396,000 posted in June, 2009. On the other had, months-supply fell 20.8% to 7.6 with total new homes for sale coming in at 210,000. In comparison, there were 280,000 new homes for sale at the end of June, 2009.
The median price nationally fell slightly to $213,400 from $216,400 in May.The average price was down 9.8% to $242,000.
The rise was propelled in part by a 46.4% sequential rise in sales in the Northeast, the smallest region by sales, which was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 41,000 new-home sales in June, up 17.1% from June, 2009. The South, the largest region, also was up sharply, by 33.1% to an annual pace of 185,000, down 6.1% from June, 2009. The Midwest was up 20.5% to 47,000, down 20.3% from last June. The West fell 6.6% to a pace of 57,000, down 45.7% from the same month last year.
Not seasonally adjusted, an estimated 30,000 new homes were sold in June, 4,000 in the Northeast, 5,000 in the Midwest, 16,000 in the South and 5,000 in the West.
Josh Levin, home building analyst at Citigroup Global Markets, was skeptical. In a reserach note to investors, he wrote, "As is often the case with the government's NHS data, we are somewhat skeptical of today's data. Our June private homebuilder survey showed a modest but not appreciable decline in June NHS. When LEN, a national homebuilding bellwether, reported results a month ago, it said that June sales showed a "modest improvement" over May sales. When weconsider all of the available data along with today's government data, our sense is that June was a month in which new home sales bounced along the bottom and, importantly, did not demonstrate continued freefall."
On the other hand, Levin also wrote that "the bear case for the homebuilder stocks becomes untenable with signs of housing market stabilization or improvement, albeit at very low absolute levels."
Carl Reichardt at Wells Fargo took a dimmer view. In his research note, he wrote, "While some are already calling June's NHS "positive" given the strong sequential change in the SAAR, investors should also focus on the revisions, in our view. April was again revised down and is now 422,000 versus the originally reported 505,000; May data was revised down to 267,000 from 300,000. May and June NHS are the two lowest SAAR figures ever reported since the Census began releasing the data in 1963. Plainly put, according to this data, demand currently sits at its weakest level ever."