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Politics & MoneyReal Estate

New home sales trigger concern over lumber prices

Monthly supply is starting to get back to a normal housing market

HW+ house construction lumber

Today the Census Bureau reported 863,000 new home sales in April 2021. This was a miss from estimates and revisions for the previous months were all negative.

From Census: “Sales of new single‐family houses in April 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 863,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 5.9 percent (±11.2 percent)* below the revised March rate of 917,000, but is 48.3 percent (±24.5 percent) above the April 2020 estimate of 582,000.”

Data from the previous months’ report was a beat of estimates with positive revisions. The difference in the two reports is not surprising; new home sales tend to fluctuate wildly month to month on both the positive and the negative.

A more reliable and stable indicator of the housing market is the monthly supply of new homes, averaged over three months. As long as the three-month average is under 4.3 months, the builders will have the confidence to continue to build. With this report, the three-month average is up to 4.23 months. This puts us on the verge of the housing market turning from solid to just okay. I know it might not seem like much of a move, but, trust me you want to keep an eye out on this data line.

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