U.S. new homes sales near one-year low; drop seen as temporary

Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:08pm EDT
 
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By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales fell to near a one-year low in September after two straight months of gains, but a jump in prices suggested that housing remained on solid ground.

The Commerce Department said on Monday sales dropped 11.5percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 units, the lowest level since November 2014. August's sales pace was revised down to 529,000 units from the previously reported 552,000 units.

The moderation in new home sales is at odds with other housing reports that have painted a bullish picture of the sector. New home sales, which account for 7.8 percent of the housing market, tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis because they are drawn from a small sample.

"The September report does little to alter our view that the housing market is continuing to recover. We view the new home sales data as unreliable and many other more reliable housing indicators have been sending upbeat signals lately," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan.

September data on existing home sales, homebuilder confidence and housing starts have been fairly strong.

The housing index .HGX fell more than 1 percent on the data, underperforming a marginally weaker stock market. D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N: Quote), the largest U.S. homebuilder, dropped 2.7 percent. Lennar Corp LEN.N, the nation's second-largest homebuilder, fell 2.1 percent.

Prices for U.S. government debt rose, while the dollar slipped against a basket of currencies.   Continued...

 
A real estate sign advertising a new home for sale is pictured in Vienna, Virginia, outside of Washington, October 20, 2014.     REUTERS/Larry Downing