Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for December showing an unusually strong increase of 17.5% in sales nationally since November as a direct result of a strikingly errant 71.9% monthly increase in sales in the West region.
Clearly, we will have to wait a month or so to see how this truly shakes out but the report indicated that sales in the Northeast slid while sales in the South and Midwest moved up only slightly.
Typically, the first quarter brings the most active sales for the new home market while December is marginal at best.
What is responsible for this explosive sales level in the West will have to be determined but for now let's take the 90% confidence interval of + or - 31.2% for what it's worth and wait for the revisions.
On a year-over-year basis, new single family home sales declined 7.6% while the monthly supply declined 11.5% to 6.9 months.
The following chart show the extent of sales decline to date (click for full-larger version).