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Wells Fargo Reports: New Home Sales Surge in August to Six-Year High

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoNew home sales spiked 18 percent in August to a 504,000-unit pace with upward revisions to previous months’ data. Much of the increase was concentrated in the Northeast and West. Inventories also rose.

New Home Sales Reach Highest Level Since 2008

 New home sales posted a stronger-than-expected reading in August, jumping 18 percent. The increase was largely due to

sizeable gains in the Northeast and West, which increased 29.2 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Upward revisions to data in the three previous months were a welcome surprise and should alleviate some of the worry around the slower housing recovery. Inventories are up 16 percent over the past year.

New Home Sales Activity Should Continue to Improve

 With sales showing strong gains in the highly-priced Northeast and West, average home prices increased during the month.

Median home prices, however, followed the trend in other price measures, falling 1.6 percent in August. Today’s report corroborates the solid gains in builder sentiment over the past three months. Our outlook remains unchanged for the housing market, and we continue to expect a gradual improvement.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Existing Home Sales Post Surprise Dip in August

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoExisting home sales fell 1.8 percent in August, with a modest downward revision to the previous month’s data.

Despite the decline, underlying data suggest a continued normalization in the housing market.

Downside Surprise in Existing Sales

  • Existing home sales slipped into negative territory in August, following four months of gains. Although the decline was much weaker than expected, the underlying data suggest the housing recovery is still making positive strides. Distressed sales comprised only 8 percent of the total sales compared to 12 percent one year ago. All-cash transactions fell 6 percentage points to 23 percent as investors are less active in the market.

First-Time Home Buyers Still Missing in Action

  • The share of first-time homebuyers remained unchanged at 29 percent in August, but is a tad higher than its year-ago reading.

With household formations below its long-run trend and many young adults still choosing to rent, we will likely not see any meaningful increase in activity until next year. On a regional basis, sales in the South and West fell during the month. Median and average home prices moderated for the second month.

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