by Lee Adler
Wall Street Examiner
The Commerce Department reported today that sales of newly built homes posted a seasonally adjusted month to month decline of 7.6% to an annualized rate of 609,000. This was near the consensus guess of economists of 602,000 according to the Wall Street Journal. In terms of the game of pin the tail on the donkey-economists it was a non-event.
The Commerce Department also reported that the August headline number was up 20.6% year to year. That sounds good until you look at the actual data.
The actual, unmanipulated figures showed a total of 50,000 new homes sold in August, compared with 57,000 in July, a drop of -12.3%. That was much worse than the typical month to month decline in August. Last year the August drop was -4.7% month to month. The average August decline for the prior 10 years was -5.6%. In fact, this was the largest August month to month decline in history, going back to 1963 when the Federal Government began collecting this data.