Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some Financial News by the Numbers

Bloomberg is spinning the news to juice the markets this morning. The Wall Street Juice Em Up before Q1 ends goes on unabated. Here's their reporting for new home sales in February this morning. "Purchases of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in February from a record low as plummeting prices and cheaper mortgage rates lured some buyers. Sales increased 4.7 percent to an annual pace of 337,000 after a 322,000 rate in January, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median sales price fell 18 percent, and unsold homes at the current sales pace were the fewest since June 2002."

Boy that sure sounds like good times are set to roll in the housing markets once again, eh? Notice how little context Bloomberg bothers with (investors don't need no stinkin' context!). The annualized rate (i.e., take the actual estimate and multiply it times 12) for new home sales was the second lowest rate since at least 1963 according to records at US Census. The lowest rate of sales was just 1 month earlier, January 2009. Indeed, the number is substantially lower than all of 2008, a rather pathetic year for new home sales! One more thing, the peak month, according to US Census, was July 2005 with 1,389,000 new homes sold at an annualized rate. So, the morning good news is that the new homes market is only down about 75% from the peak! Wahoo! Let's go shopping!

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