NEW HOMES CENSUS BUREAU AND HUD SHOW INCREASE
Many of the new home builders have seen solid business growth over the past few years, even as their stocks have struggled. Lennar LEN, -1.69% shares have declined about 9% over the past 12 months, while Toll Brothers TOL, -2.78% is down 28%.
The sales data help confirm that the housing market is strengthening, Pantheon Macroeconomic Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson wrote in a note Wednesday. “The consensus always looked timid, given the very warm weather in December; new home sales are measured at the point contracts are signed, which often happens at sales offices at construction sites. Unseasonably warm winter weather makes these sites much more appealing places to visit.”
But other data, including builder sentiment and mortgage applications, signal stronger activity than the pace of new homes suggest, Shepherdson wrote, “so we have to expect further gains over the next few months.”
Source U.S. Cenus Bureau and Andrea Riquier author for Marketwatch. Visit marketwatch.com for more news. Follow Andrea on Twitter at Twitter@ARiquier