New home sales fall (maybe)

NEW HOME SALES FALL according to the latest new residential sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

errr probably.

Remember, housing data is uncertain and there’s quite a large margin of error. Per the Census/HUD report sales fell 3.4 percent, but with a confidence interval of plus or minus 13 percent. Here’s a chart with the line showing the estimate and the shaded area the confidence interval around that estimate.

Yes home sales don’t seem to be trending higher, but given the uncertainty we can’t really be sure. Even the year-over-year change has a confidence interval of over 18 percent. If we look at the year-to-date total for the first 8 months of the year cumulative sales are up 7.5% (+/- 5.4%), which is outside the confidence but primarily based on the earlier months of this year.

And if housing starts grind to a halt it’s going to be hard to see much increase in new home sales.