Monday, July 26, 2010

Creative Headline: 'New home sales up, but sales remain slow'

Yahoo!/AP has reported on today's housing data using this headline which I believe belies the underlying data. Excerpt:

New home sales rose nearly 24 percent in June from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 330,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. May's number was revised downward to a rate of 267,000, the slowest pace on records dating back to 1963. Sales for April and March were also revised downward.

I track total US households via data from the US Census Dept. at about 110 million; just a 1% growth in US households would result in 1.1 million new housing starts, without counting the replacement of homes destroyed or units that are demolished due to obsolescence. This data implies that US citizens are using co-habitation to a great extent for their housing.

The revised May number of 267,000 is almost unbelievable for a modern, western nation. Based on 110M US households, this represents a 0.25% annual rate of growth. To compare this to the previous low of 1963 identified in the article, US population in 1963 was 190M , using today's population of approximately 300M, and scaling for households per population would indicate that even in 1963, this 267,000 number represented a 0.38% growth in housing per households. This has to be "depression level" housing data when adjusted for population.

We should all be outraged that our policymakers are not demanding better economic outcomes.

1 comment:

Mike Sandifer said...

Very good points. I hadn't thought of it this way.