Today’s batch of economic data persists in painting a lackluster picture of the U.S. housing market. This morning, the U.S. Census bureau released its July figures for sales of new homes. It wasn’t pretty; sales of new single-family houses plummeted 12 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 276,000. That’s the lowest all-time rate of home sales on record. Wall Street analysts were expecting much higher transaction volume in the housing market. The Census Bureau also revised its June new home sales estimate downward to 315,000 (which at the time was the record low).
The report follows yesterday’s announcement by the National Association of Realtors that the rate of existing-home sales had fallen to a 15-year low. These houses just keep sitting on the shelves!
Meanwhile, orders of durable goods, an advance indicator of manufacturing activity, likewise disappointed. The Census Bureau said that, purchases of goods with a lifespan of three years or longer rose 0.3 percent in July to $193 billion, well below Wall Street expectations for a 2.8 percent increase.
As the day progressed, investors appeared to recover from the disappointing data, spurring a modest midafternoon rally in the major Wall Street indices. After losing ground for most of the morning, the S&P 500 Index was lately up fractionally at 1,053.
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