Highlights From Today's Housing Data

Includes: ITB, IYR, REZ, XHB
by: Mark J. Perry

Some highlights of today's report on new home sales in January from the Census Bureau:

1. The number of new homes sold in January (437,000 at a seasonally adjusted annual rate) was the best month for new-home sales since July 2008, and the best January in five years.

2. The total sales volume in January at more than $125 billion was the best month for total sales since July 2008.

3. The supply of new homes for sale at the current sales pace fell to 4.1 months in January, the lowest level of inventory of new homes relative to sales since October 2004. The historically low housing inventory levels (for both new and existing homes) should provide increased incentives for homebuilders to increase construction activity this year.

Some highlights of today's report on home prices for December from the FHFA:

1. The monthly seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index for the U.S. has increased for 11 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis, and the 5.8% increase in December was the largest annual gain in home prices since June 2006.

2. The FHFA house price index in December (193.8) was the highest level for U.S. home prices since November 2011, more than three years ago.

More evidence from today's housing reports that 2012 was the "year of the housing recovery," and the recovery continues in 2013. Look for housing, energy and manufacturing to be among the three strongest sectors of the U.S. economy this year.