New Home Sales: Look at Bigger Picture, Mortgage Applications

Oct.27.06 | About: SPDR Homebuilders (XHB)

I wrote something yesterday on how existing homes sales were showing signs of slowing, yet overall is a weak indicator. However, it does add to the overall picture in the housing market.

I got a comment from Jed, a commenter who's shown that he's got more than just a basic understanding of the economy. His comment was that, overall, the housing market was slowing down. Very true. He brought attention to seasonal adjustments that would in fact lower the overall existing homes sales picture. I've not actually seen the document he's referenced, but it made sense. I got the sense that if we were to seasonally adjust the data, the picture would look a little more bleak for existing homes sales. Again, however, I defer to my opinion on existing homes sales, that as the economy goes, it's not all the big of a deal what happens in this arena. I'm more concerned with construction spending and new homes purchases/builds.

That would be a nice segue into Thursday's new homes sales data (click to enlarge):

new homes

Yup, we're declining. But, take a look at the chart in general. We've seen some hyper accelerated results coming in from the very early 2000's. From here, we seem to have leveled out. We may have a little bit more to go in the decline to get us to what would be "normal". If you could apply the loose art of technical analysis to this chart, and draw a line up from the bottom of 1991, then we're about right for now.

Then there's the report that came out yesterday about mortgage applications. The picture is getting a bit perky with applications:

mortgage apps

Clearly down from the highs of just about a year ago. But, there's a heartbeat that is keeping the industry moving. With my viewpoint that the economy is a lot stronger than most see it, I can see continued resiliency in this indicator, along with the housing market.