Morning Briefing: New home sales solid in August despite decline

by Steve Randall27 Sep 2016
New home sales solid in August despite decline
Sales of new homes remained solid across the US in August despite a decline compared to July.

Figures from the HUD and US Census Bureau show a 7.6 per cent drop in August to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 609,000. However, the lower figure comes off the back of a sharp rise in the previous month and is still the second straight month of sales above 600,000 since the Great Recession.

“Given the huge jump in sales in July, the August reading remains robust,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill.  “Sales are up 21 per cent from August last year and year-to-date they are running 13 per cent higher, indicating that the housing recovery remains firmly on track.”

Inventory continues to weaken the growth of sales with 4.6 months’ supply available in August at the current pace.

The West was the only region to show a gain in sales in August, up 8 per cent from July. The Northeast was down 34.3 per cent; the South was down 12.3 per cent; and the Midwest was down 2.4 per cent.
Massachusetts sales, prices up in August
Closed sales and prices saw a further increase in Massachusetts in August according to a new report from the state’s real estate agents’ association.

There was a 4 per cent rise in single-family home sales (6,254) year-over-year and a 0.8 per cent rise for condo sales (2,290).
Tight inventory continued to push sales prices higher with a median $375,000 for single-family homes (up 2.7 per cent year-over-year) and $345,00 for condos (up 2.8 per cent).

“After a very busy winter and early spring market closed sales dipped a bit in July, but strong buyer demand once again pushed sales back up in August,” said 2016 MAR President Annie Blatz, branch executive at Kinlin Grover Real Estate in Brewster.
“Prices are nearing record highs again and we desperately need more inventory to keep people in the market as we head into the last quarter of the year.”

Inventory was down 32.3 per cent in August compared to a year earlier.
Global coalition aims to standardize home sizes
A coalition of real estate organizations is working to implement international standards for the measurement of residential real estate.

The International Property Measurement Standards will provide a global method to determine the size and dimension of floor space; measures which currently vary from country to country.

“For many, owning a home is the most important investment they’ll make. This new standard will enable investors, estate agents, developers, consumers and other users of professional property services, to make more informed decisions,”
commented Alexander Aronsohn, Director Technical International Standards of surveyors’ body RICS.


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