Economist's Insights

New Home Sales Fall With or Without Harvey:

Sep 26, 2017

New Home Sales for the month of August fell 3.4% as the data were once again affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Sales in the South region fell 4.7% which, as was the case with the existing home sales data, was partially the result of delayed activity from the late-August hurricane.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey is likely to affect activity in the South again in September while Hurricane Irma is likely to exacerbate the weakness.  While the weather is wreaking havoc on some of the economic data, the weak new home sales data is not all to blame on the storms.  Sales in the Northeast fell 2.6%, sales in the West fell 2.7%, and sales in the Midwest were flat.  Even excluding sales in the South, new home sales in the rest of the country are now down 16% since March’s peak.  On a QoQ tracking basis, new home sales are now down 5.5% in 3Q, down 4.9% when excluding sales in the South.