US sales of new single-family homes fall marginally in Oct

28 November 2012 16:42  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US sales of new single-family homes fell marginally in October from September, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, marking another bump in the still rocky road of the nation’s housing recovery.

In its monthly report, the department said that new home sales in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 368,000 units, down by 0.3% from the downwardly revised September figure of 369,000.

The revised lower rate of new home sales in September also suggests that the housing recovery remains patchy.  September’s new home sales had originally been put at 389,000 units, but that first estimate was lowered by 5% in Wednesday’s report.

That downward revision all but eliminates the 5.7% monthly gain in new home sales that had been reported for September.

The long-awaited US housing sector recovery has been developing since earlier this year when the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new single-family home sales rose from just above 300,000 at the end of 2011 to the 340,000 range in January and then to the low- and mid-360,000s since May.

While the housing sector is seen to be in recovery, the market remains well below the new home sales pace of the boom years 2003-2006 when the seasonally adjusted annual rate was almost always at 1m or higher each month and often reached 1.3m units.

Many economists doubt that the US will return to those levels, at least not in the foreseeable future.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently forecast that construction of new single-family homes would reach 665,000 in 2013 and then climb to 865,000 units in 2014.

While down marginally from September, the October sales pace of 368,000 is 17.2% higher than the same month of 2011, suggesting that the recovery, however sluggish and at times halting, is gaining ground.

The housing market is a key downstream consumer sector for the chemicals industry, driving demand for a wide variety of chemicals, resins and derivative products such as plastic pipe, insulation, paints and coatings, adhesives, roofing materials and synthetic fibres.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each new home built represents some $15,000 (€11,550) in chemicals and derivatives used in the structure or in production of component materials, equipment and furnishings.

($1 = €0.77)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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