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New home sales rose +7.9% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 764,000, and December’s sales were revised upward to a 706,000 rate, but November was adjusted downward to 692,000. Overall sales vs January 2019 were up +18.6%, with increases of +49.1% in the West, +47.8% in the Midwest, and +46.7% in the Northeast, but a -2.4% drop in the South. The median sales price was $348,200, and the average price was $402,300, and homes priced higher than $300,000 made up 59% of the market in January vs 57% in December. Housing inventory for sale was relatively unchanged from December at 324,000, which is a 5.1 month supply at the current sales rate.
A -2.2% drop in orders for transportation equipment pulled down overall new orders for durable goods by -0.2% in January, and excluding transportation new orders were up +0.9%. Orders for defense had risen strongly in December, but pulled back in January, with defense aircraft down -19.6 in January after a +166.8% increase, and defense capital goods down -39.8% after a +87.4% increase. New orders for nondefense core capital goods, which act as a gauge for business investment, were up +12.4%, largely due to a +346.2% surge in civilian aircraft orders, and were up +1.1% when excluding aircraft as well.
A +0.5% increase in disposable personal income in January, vs a +0.1% increase for December, was attributed primarily to employee pay increases, yearly cost of living adjustments to social security, and Affordable Care Act refundable tax credits. Spending grew by $12.9 billion in January, but slowed to a +0.2% growth rate vs +0.4% in December, and the savings rate rose from 7.5% to 7.9%. Spending on new motor vehicles was the largest contributor to a $2.2 billion increase in goods spending, and spending on food services and accommodations were the largest components of a $10.3 billion increase in services spending. Yearly inflation was up +0.2% to a 1.7% annual rate, although core inflation, which excludes food and energy only nudged up to 1.6% (+0.1%).
Monday March 2 – Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing PMI
Friday March 6 – Employment Situation
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