New Home Sales Drop in July Even as Inventory Rises

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Pace of contracts for new home sales FELL 1.7 percent in July to 627,000 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate);
  • The sales pace for June was revised up 7,000; without the revision, the July month-month decline would have been less than one percent;
  • Unsold inventory increased 6,000 in July to 309,000 but the inventory for June was revised upward to 303,000 from 301,000;
  • The months’ supply of new homes for sale ROSE to 5.7 in July from 5.5 in June
  • Median price of a new home JUMPED $18,700 from June to $328,700;
  • Year-year the median price of a new home was UP $5,800 (1.8 percent)

Trends:

  • The July sales rate was the weakest since last October (618,000):
  • New home sales in July were up 1.8 percent from July 2017, despite the increase in the median price;
  • The increase in the median price of a new single-family home was only the second month-month increase this year (in March the median price rose 6.0 percent);
  • The inventory of new homes for sale has now increased in all but four months in the last two years.

Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development

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The standard explanation for weak home sales – new or existing – has been a lack of inventory. The report of new homes for July put the lie to that argument.

The inventory of new homes for sale at the end of the month rose for the 20th time in the last 24 months (it was flat month-month in two of those months) suggesting strongly something else is at work depressing home sales.

The sales pace in July was exactly where it was in July 2016 – some month-month gyrations notwithstanding.

In that 24-motnh span, the sales rate peaked at 712,000 last November, but also fell as low as 548,000.

Among the factors conspiring to tamp down home sales: stagnant wages despite a “seller’s” job market; mortgage interest rates creeping up (3.44 percent for a 30-year fixed rate loan in July 2016 to 4.53 percent this year and the still-present debt load of borrowers in the prime home-buying age cohort. According to a new study, more than one million borrowers default on student loans each year and nearly 40 percent are expected to default by 2023. The findings by Ameritech Financial also noted “Defaulting borrowers are less likely than their non-defaulting counterparts to be able to take on debt that requires a risk assessment like a credit card, auto loan or mortgage. Defaulters are also more likely to face bill collectors because they fell behind on their utility or medical bills.

The new sales data appears to be at odds with still high confidence levels reported by the National Association of Home Builders and with the slight uptick in single-family permits and starts in July as reported by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Builders continue to build adding to inventories. In the last two years, completion of new single-family homes has exceeded sale by about 188,000 per month.

Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S. (Sirius-XM 124) Friday at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st Time Unemployment Claims Down Again

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 210,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Aug 18 a DECREASE of 2.000 from the prior week’s unrevised report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims FELL 1,750 to 213,750;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.137 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.138 percent the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,727,000 for the week ended August 11, DOWN 2,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,729,000 (revised from 1,721,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 5,000 to 1,735,500.

Trends:

  • Four-week moving average of initial claims HAS FALLEN 11.5 percent since the beginning of the year;
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims has declined year-year for 45 straight weeks;
  • The number of continued claims is DOWN 12.1 percent since the beginning of the year;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims has fallen 9.8 percent since the beginning of the year.

Data Source: Department of Labor 

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With the ongoing drop in both initial and continued claims for unemployment insurance, it may no longer be instructive to watch the weekly numbers themselves so closely. Rather these data points are perhaps better observed by taking a step back. Much like a painting by Claude Monet, the true picture is not as evident when viewed too closely.

And that distant view is of yet a better picture than the closeup with longer trends of decline which could mean, as the Federal Open Market Committee observed in the recently released minutes of its August 1 meeting, even further declines in the nation’s unemployment rate.

Of course, the Board is on guard against too precipitous a decline which is why, must to President Trump’s consternation, the FOMC is likely to raise interest rates more often than it previously suggested.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance turn into unemployment rate data as individuals remain unemployed.  Even in a seemingly robust labor market environment, individuals who become unemployed are not quickly snapped up for other jobs.

(Individuals who are counted as unemployed are not automatically covered by unemployment insurance for a variety of reasons. Those who are discharged for cause, for example, could have their claims for benefits rejected. Continued claims historically have been about 28 percent of unemployment.)

We’re left with looking at trends, rather than specific data points. With that analysis in mind claims for unemployment insurance, particularly continuing claims, assume a greater significance in trend watching.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

1st Time Unemployment Claims Continue Down

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 212,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Aug 11 a DECREASE of 2.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised report (from 213,000 to 214,000)
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims ROSE 1,00 to 215,500;
  • Four-week,  moving average represented 0.138 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,721,000 for the week ended August 4, DOWN 39,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,760,000 (revised from 1,755,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 8,000 to 1,735,500.

Trends:

  • Four-week moving average of initial claims ROSE for the first time in six weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims has declined year-year for 44 straight weeks;

Data Source: Department of Labor

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Initial claims for unemployment insurance continued their downward roller coaster ride last week and over a longer period, be it four weeks or 52, look positively bullish.

Whether measured as a percentage of employment or the labor force, initial claims filings have maintained a downward trajectory.

The four-week moving average of first-time claims has been down year-year four 47 weeks and the 52-week moving average has been down for 21 straight weeks.

The picture is largely the same for continued claims, a measure of hiring. The four-week moving average has been down year-year every week since January 2010!

What continues to befuddle labor economists is the stubborn nature of weekly earnings which seem to have defied laws of supply and demand, not rising dramatically even as the unemployment and the number of unemployed drops.

One possible explanation is the cut in the corporate tax rate which has removed some of the tax incentive for paying workers more.

When the corporate tax rate was 35 percent, businesses knew the government would essentially “pay” 35¢ of every additional dollar of wages. Now that the rate is 21 percent, the tax advantage is reduced. While employers have not offered that excuse or logic (?), it has affected other facets of the economy, for example, low-income housing tax credits which, with the reduction in the corporate tax rate are no longer as valuable.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

Construction Activity Edges Up in July; Remains Weak

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • Home building activity, measured by housing permits and starts EDGED UP in July, led by single-family activity;
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate of Single-family permits ROSE a 1.9 percent while single-starts were UP 0.9 percent;
  • As a share of the increase in all permits, single-family activity represented 84 percent and of starts, 80 percent;
  • Multi-family permits were UP 0.7 percent as did multi-family starts;
  • The rate of housing completions though FELL 1.7 percent, as single-family completions plummeted but multi-family completion increased month-month

Trends:

  • The month-month improvement in housing permits was the first in four months;
  • The SAAR of both permits and starts is down since the beginning of the year; permits are off by less than 1 percent, but the rate of starts is off almost 3.5 percent;
  • The pace of new home completions has now fallen for three straight months and for four of the last five months;

Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development 

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Just one day after the National Association of Home Builders reported yet another dip in builder confidence, the Commerce Department provided an explanation in a report showing weak gains in new residential activity.

The Housing Market Index, NAHB’s yardstick for builder confidence slipped one point in August though it remains strongly positive at 67.

The index, though labeled as the August reading, is largely based on July activity which continued to show challenges for the housing sector borne out by the Commerce data. The sector must still deal with stagnant earnings, rising mortgage rates and higher material costs as a consequence of higher tariffs.

According to Freddie Mac, though the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dipped to 4.53 percent last week from 4.59 percent one week earlier, it remains noticeably higher than the 3.89 percent rate a year ago.  The difference would cost a borrower about $112 a month on a 39-year $300,000 mortgage.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housings starts was about 1.6 million in January 2006 and fell to under 500,000 at the depths of the Recession. Thursday’s report of a SAAR just under $1.2 million, suggests home construction still has a long way to go.

Of course, the reduced inventory of new homes has affected sales. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new home sales in June was 631,000, down from a pre-Recession high of nearly 1.4 million.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st Time Unemployment Claims Resume Decline, But Exansion Sputters

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 213,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Aug 4 a DECREASE of 6.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised report (from 218,000 to 219,000)
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims DROPPED 500 to 214,250;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.137 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.138 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,755,000 for the week ended July 28, UP 29,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,726,000 (revised from 1,724,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 3,000 to 1,745,250.

Trends:

  • Four-week moving average of initial claims fell for the fifth week in a row for the first time since last November;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims has declined year-year for 43 straight weeks;
  • After falling for 11 straight weeks (from April to mid-June) the four-week moving average of continued claims has not increased in four of the last five weeks.

Data Source: Department of Labor

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On the heels of a meh JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) Tuesday, the Department of Labor Thursday reported a drop in the number of first-time claims for the week ended last Saturday.

While the two reports don’t necessarily feed into each other, they are related in that one of the surest ways to get off the unemployment rolls (as reported in the continued claims report) is to get a job. According to the JOLTS data, the number of job openings barely budged in June (the most recent reporting month) up just 3,000 to 6,662,000. Also, in June, the number of hires dropped 96,000 to 5,651,000.

The slowdown in hiring is one explanation as to why the number of continued claims – measuring those who are still collecting unemployment benefits – rose in the last week and why the four-week moving average of continued claims rose as well.

According to the JOLTS data, the number of unemployed per job opening rose in June in six occupational sectors: professional and business services, construction, trade, education and health services, transportation and leisure and hospitality.

The number of layoffs in the construction sector, one of the country’s core occupational sectors, rose in June as the number of hires fell.

The JOLTS data taken with the initial claims reports suggest a slowing in the labor market which will only exacerbate the stagnant wages environment plaguing the labor market, suggesting the 4.1 percent GDP growth of the second quarter might have been an aberration and not the new norm for the nation’s economy.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

Economy Adds Disappointing 157K jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Drops Back to 3.9%

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • Number of payroll jobs INCREASED 157,000 in July;
  • Unemployment rate in July FELL to 3.9 percent;
  • Average weekly earnings DROPPED 28¢ in July to $933.23, a 2.8 percent year-year gain, down from a 3.0 percent year-year gain in June;
  • Average hourly earnings GREW 7¢, in June a 2.5 percent annual increase
  • Private sector jobs INCREASED 170,000;
  • Number of multiple jobholders grew 453,000, almost 3x the number of “new” jobs;
  • Prior month job totals REVISED up 59K: UP 35,000 in June to a growth of 248,000 jobs (from 213,000) UP in May to a gain of 268,000 (from the last report of a 244,000 increase);
  • The number of persons unemployed FELL 284,000 as 287,000 fewer individuals re-entered the labor force;
  • The number of person employed ROSE, 389,000;
  • Average weekly hours SLIPPED to5 in July from 34.6 in June;
  • Labor force – ROSE 105,000 in June;
  • The number of persons NOT in the labor force INCREASED 96,000;
  • Labor force participation rate REMAINED at 62.9 percent;
  • Employment-Population ratio ROSE to 60.5 percent,
  • By sector number of professional and business service jobs ROSE 51,000 paced by a 27,900 increase in temp jobs; number of leisure and hospitality jobs grew 40,000 with 33,800 new food service jobs; number of retail jobs INCREASED 7,100;
  • Manufacturing jobs INCREASED 37,000.

Trends:

  • Increase in the number of multiple jobholders was the largest since October 2014 (481,000)
  • Multiple jobholders represented 5.0 percent of all jobholders in July, up from 4.7 percent in June;
  • Month-month increase in temporary jobs (27,900) was the largest since September 2016 (35,500).

Data Source Bureau of Labor Statistics

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The June Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was another mixed bag: a smaller than expected increase in the number of payrolls (157,000 versus market consensus of 190,000) but a decline in the unemployment rate.

Why the dichotomy?

For starters, the increase in good-producing jobs has leveled off, albeit at a still strong monthly average of 52,000 for the last three months, down from 60,000 for the first four months of the year.

The drop in the unemployment rate itself stems from a faster increase in the labor force (the sum of those employed and those unemployed) – up 1.8 million in the last year — than the decline in the number of persons unemployed (679,000). It also reflects a slowdown in the number of individuals re-entering the job market.

The number of re-entrants average 2,200 per month in the last two years as the economy was recovering from the Recession to an average of 1,950 in the first seven months of this year.

What’s more intriguing perhaps is the labor force participation rate – the percentage of the over-16 population either employed or unemployed – has been unchanged in the last year at 62.9 percent, well below pre-recession levels.

And below the headline numbers of jobs and the unemployment rate remains the stubbornly stagnant wage picture which seems to defy normal laws of labor supply and demand. With the unemployment rate generally at its lowest level of this century, year-year growth in hourly wages is a full percentage point below where it was the last time the unemployment was as low as it is now.

Taken together that suggests an out of synch economy unless we’re in the midst of a new paradigm.

All that would be fine if prices were stable, but we’ve seen an inexorable – albeit relatively small – increase in the cost of living along with a slowing in key economic sectors. With the Federal Open Market Committee remaining on course to increase interest rates, the situation could only get worse.

Home sale activity, for example, remains slow. As a result, residential construction jobs represent 1.9 percent of all jobs, down from 2.5 percent at their peak. Instead, low-paying leisure and hospitality jobs – primarily food service jobs, now account for almost 11 percent of all jobs.

We’ve yet to feel the effects of the trade war started by the Trump Administration which will impact the cost of home construction.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday morning at 6:20 am on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM 124. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st Time Unemployment Insurance Inch Up

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 218,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended July 28 an INCREASE of 1.000 from the prior week’s unrevised report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims DROPPED 3,500 to 214,500;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.138 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.140 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,724,000 for the week ended July 21, DOWN 23,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,747,000 (revised from 1,745,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 4,500 to 1,741,750.

Trends:

  • Initial claims rose for the second week in a row and the fourth time in the last six weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims has declined year-year for 42 straight weeks;
  • The drop in the four-week moving average of continued claims was the first in four weeks.

Data Source: Department of Labor 

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The Federal Open Market Committee in announcing its interest rate decision Wednesday said, “job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low” and the weekly report on first-time claims for unemployment insurance, despite an upward tick, put numbers behind the commentary. Noting recent trends, the FOMC said the labor market conditions “realized and expected.”

And so, the labor strength continues, with the numbers to be released tomorrow in the monthly Employment Situation release likely to provide further statistical reinforcement.

Only 12 of the 92 economic forecasts received by Reuters see the unemployment rate remaining at 4.0 percent with virtually all the others anticipating the unemployment rate will drop back to 3.9 percent. Three forecasters see it dropping further, to 3.8 percent, the level in May.

The more critical number to be reported Friday, to be sure, is the year-year growth in average weekly earnings which rose 2.5 percent in June, the smallest year-year increase since January when it went up 2.2 percent.

The claims report continued the pattern of the improving labor picture, unlikely to change unless it continues unable to resist pressures on several fronts: tariffs which could affect food production, manufacturing, and home building.

Last week’s report on Gross Domestic Product notwithstanding, the economy remains vulnerable.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

Homeownership Rate Inches Up in 2Q

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • Homeownership rate in 2Q 2018 was 64.3 percent, UP from 64.2 percent in 1Q;
  • 934,000 MORE households owned homes in 2Q 2018 than in 1Q, 2.2 million more than in 2Q 2017
  • 2,000 MORE vacant homes for sale in 2Q than in 1Q, but 38,000 fewer than in 2Q 2017

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The nation’s housing market remained essentially flat in the second quarter the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Thursday.

The homeownership rate which had been growing from the first quarter through the fourth quarter a year ago, rose just 0.1 percentage points in the second quarter, an improvement from the first quarter but still well below the 65.3 percent average during the Obama Administration.

The homeownership rate peaked at 69.2 percent in 2004 and dropped to a 48-year low of 62.9 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing single-family homes in the second quarter averaged 5.41 million (seasonally adjusted annualized rate) down from 5.54 million in 2017.

New home sales though averaged 646,000 in the second quarter, up from 615,000 in 2017.

New tax rules limiting the tax advantage of homeownership went into effect in January and existing home sales have fallen in four of the first six months of this year. New home sales have dropped in three of the first six months this year. (Since both are reported as “seasonally adjusted annual rates” the most recent reports are significant: for existing home sales 5.38 million in June, matching January as the weakest since last September; for new home sales: 631,000 in June, slowest pace since August 2017.)

An encouraging sign in the data was the uptick in homeownership rates by younger age cohorts. The homeownership rate among those under 35 rose to 36.5 percent (from 35.3 percent), its highest level since the end of 2013. The homeownership rate in the 35-40 age bracket rose to 60 percent (from 59.8 percent), its highest since 2Q 2014.

Those increases bucked a trend which saw younger families shunning homeownership for a variety of reasons. The lower percentages of homeownership among younger families were attributed to the Great Recession when those 30-34 were watching their parents or their friends’ parents struggle in the mortgage meltdown. Since then, of course, while mortgages may have stabilized, that same age cohort has been saddled with student loans which make homeownership more of a dream and rising interest rates in addition to a new cap on tax breaks from owning a home.

According to Thursday’s report, the percentage of senior citizens (over 65) owning homes has fallen from 81.2 percent to 78.0 percent in the last five years.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. Follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

 

1st Time Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise; Hint at Temperate Jobs Report Next Week

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 217,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended July 21 an INCREASE of 9.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised (207,000 to 208,000) report;
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims DROPPED 2,750 to 218,000;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.140 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.142 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,745,000 for the week ended July 14, DOWN 8,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,753,000 (revised from 1,751,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 9,500 to 1,745,750.

Trends:

  • Year-to-date, initial claims have averaged 237,580, down 2.7 percent from the 244,138-year-to-date average in 2017, marking the 38th straight week of year-year decline in the YTD average,
  • The 52-week average of first-time claims is 234,462, down 500 in the last week; the 52-wee-moving-average has improved for 15 straight weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims increased for the third consecutive week, the longest stretch this year.

Data Source: Department of Labor

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There was nowhere to go but up.

After dropping to a 49-year low last week, the number of initial claims for unemployment rose modestly in the week ended last Saturday, July 21.

Still, at 217,000, the number of first-time claims remains near historic lows.

The report portends a mixed result for the Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics due out August 3.

From mid-June to mid-July the number of 1st time claims dropped 10,000 and the four-week moving average of 1st time claims inched down 500. While not pointing to a decrease in the 4.0 percent unemployment rate, the numbers don’t suggest an increase either.

The numbers for continued claims – an increase of 38,000 from mid-June to mid-July in claims themselves and an increase of 36,000 in the four-week moving average – hint that the number of new jobs created in July may disappoint. In June the nation created 213,000, on par with the three-month moving average of 211,000 new jobs.

The possibility of weak jobs numbers could also mean no significant change in average hourly or weekly earnings.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

New Home Sales Drop in June Even as Median Price Falls

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Pace of contracts for new home sales FELL 5.3 percent in June to 631,000 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate);
  • Unsold inventory increased 5,000 in June to 301,000 but the inventory for May was revised downward to 296,000 from 299,000;
  • The months’ supply of new homes for sale ROSE to 5,7 in June from 5.3 in May
  • May sales were revised downward to show an increase of 3.9 percent instead of the originally reported 6.7 percent
  • Median price of a new home DROPPED $7,600 from May to $302,100;
  • Year-year the median price of a new home was DOWN $13,100 (4.2 percent)

Trends:

  • The drop in the pace of sales was the largest this year and driven by declines in the Midwest. South and West;
  • The median price of a new single-family home dropped for the third straight month, falling to its lowest level since February 2017;
  • The median price has declined every month this year except March.

Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development

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Following the pattern set by existing home sales which fell 0.6 percent in June, new home sales declined by the largest month-month percent this year.

Although the two reports are not directly comparable – the National Association of Realtors’ existing home sales report is based on closings and the government report on new home sales is based on contracts – they provide a sense of the direction of the home sales market.

New home sales – which involve the construction of a new home are less than 10 percent of all home sales — have a greater impact on the economy because they involve the creation of an asset while existing home sales reflect the transfer of an asset.

Despite concerns that the uncertainty caused by the imposition of higher tariffs on building material, the median price of a new home fell in June but that reflects buyer choices more than the cost of construction. Half of the new homes sold in June were priced under $300,000. In the last three months, about 48 percent of new homes sold had prices below $300,000 compared with 41 percent in the prior three months.

The changing preference among buyers for lower-priced homes could ultimately effect builders although builder confidence for July, according to the National Association of Home Builders remained at a strong 68 (out of 100) as an uptick in buyer traffic offset a dip in the outlook for home sales six months from now.

Residential construction jobs improved in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics but the increase in those jobs was far weaker than it had been in April and May.

Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S. (Sirius-XM 124) Friday at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.