Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: New Home Sales at 616,000 Annual Rate in December; Previous 3 Months Revised Down Sharply
Brief excerpt: The next graph shows the months of supply by stage of construction. “Months of supply” is inventory at each stage, divided by the sales rate.
The inventory of new homes under construction is at 5.7 months (blue line). This elevated level of homes under construction is due to supply chain constraints.
And about 1.9 months of potential inventory have not been started (grey line) – about double the normal level. Homebuilders are probably waiting to start some homes until they have a firmer grasp on prices and demand.
As previously discussed, the Census Bureau overestimates sales, and underestimates inventory when cancellation rates are rising, see: New Home Sales and Cancellations: Net vs Gross Sales. So, take the headline sales number with a large grain of salt – the actual negative impact on the homebuilders is far greater than the headline number suggests!
This will reverse when cancellation rates start declining. When a previously cancelled home is resold, the home builder counts it as a sale, but the Census Bureau does not (since it was already counted).
There are a large number of homes under construction, and this suggests we will see a further sharp increase in completed inventory over the next several months – and that will keep pressure on new home prices. You can subscribe at https://calculatedrisk.substack.com/.