AP's Crutsinger Engages in Wishful Thinking in Covering Unimpressive August New Home Sales

The Census Bureau reported today that sales of new single-family homes in the U.S. reached an annualized level of 421,000 in August. That was up by almost 8 percent from July, but a whopping 15 percent below the 497,000 the bureau originally reported for June (two subsequent revisions have taken that number down to 454,000). Given the shock decline to below 400,000 in July, August's bounceback was clearly inadequate. Additionally, as Zero Hedge noted this morning, the median new-home sales price fell to its "lowest level since January 2013."

As would be expected, you'd never know that August was unimpressive from reading Martin Crustinger's report today at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (bolds are mine):


US NEW-HOME SALES JUMP 7.9 PERCENT IN AUGUST

Americans stepped up purchases of new homes in August after cutting back in July, suggesting that higher mortgage rates are not yet slowing the housing recovery.

Sales of new homes increased 7.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That comes after sales plunged 14.1 percent in July to a 390,000 annual rate.

The rebound in sales could ease worries that higher mortgage rates have started to dampen sales. It coincided with the best month of sales for previously occupied homes in more than six years. And homebuilders remain more confident in the market than they've been in eight years.

... The median price of a new home sold in August fell 0.7 percent from July to $254,600.

The housing market has been one of the strongest performers this year in an otherwise sluggish economy, helped by steady job gains, low mortgage rates and a limited supply of available homes for sale.

Here are the raw numbers showing how "strong" new-home sales have been so far this year:

NewHomeSales0106to0813NSA

We can see that actual new-home sales only went up by 3 percent. The 35,000 new homes sold figure for August is fewer than were sold in February, and is lower than the number sold in August 2009. That's the second month in a row where 2013 has trailed 2009 after a strong of six significant beats — and the market was in a significant slide four years ago.

And the housing industry is "not yet slowing"? Please. Crutsinger's assessment verges on delusional.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.