Schwab Closing Market View, 2/26/14
*** [then again, comes this from Credit Suisse..]
Reported new home sales up a questionable 10% in January; inconsistent with actual market trends: The Census Bureau reported new home sales of 468,000 in January, an increase of 10% from 427,000 homes in December (revised up 3% from 414,000 homes originally reported). This is well above our expectation for 385,000 homes and consensus for 400,000 homes, and again points to both the volatility (confidence interval was +/- 18%) and the lack of credibility for this Census Bureau report. Trends in sales typically follow trends in construction, and single-family starts fell 16% in January. Especially amusing is the reported 74% increase in the Northeast, which appears odd given the weather. We would expect January sales to be revised in the coming months.