Weak October Sales Have Home Builders Fretting About Spring

Weak sales tallies in October mean home builders face a winter full of worry.

A monthly survey of builders across the U.S. by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a housing research and advisory firm, has found that respondents’ sales of new homes declined by 8% in October from the September level and by 6% from a year earlier.

Last month’s result marked the second consecutive month in which the survey yielded a year-over-year decline in sales volumes, the first dips since early 2011.

In addition, the percentage of builders disclosing that they raised prices continued to decline, registering 28% in October in comparison to 32% in September and 64% in July. Of respondents, 12% lowered prices in October, in comparison to 12% in September and none in July.

“October was basically a crummy month for a lot of builders,” said Jody Kahn, a senior vice president at Irvine, Calif.-based Burns. “Their frustration is about the government shutdown and how it probably trumped any seasonal (sales) lift that builders were hoping to see. Most did not have very good sales.”

 

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