New home sales reach highest mark in a decade
Sales of new single-family homes rose 6.2% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units from the downwardly revised September reading, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The current pace is the highest since October 2007 while year-to-date new home sales have increased 8.9% compared to the same period a year ago. This also marks the third straight month of increases.
“The October report shows strong sales growth at entry-level price points,” Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas, said in prepared statement. “In markets where builders are able to provide homes for families with different household budgets, they can fulfill a growing demand for housing.”
“There is solid growth in the number of sales contracts signed before construction has begun, a strong indicator that new single-family home production should continue to grow as we look ahead to 2018,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.
The inventory of new homes for sale was 282,000 in October, which is a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace. New home sales increased in all four regions: sales soared 30.2% in the Northeast, grew 17.9% in the Midwest, 6.4% in the West, and 1.3% in the South.
Retailers hit new shades of ‘black’
Online led the way on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, boasting hopes for a record holiday season spending.
Online sales grew across the three-day period from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to Black Friday, showing 21% year-over-year revenue growth and 11% purchase growth. Average order value over the same period was up 9%, according to Rakuten Marketing.
Thanksgiving Day saw a surge in online spending, with sales surging 18.3% to $2.87 billion, compared to last year, according to Adobe. On Black Friday, shoppers spent $5.03 billion online, higher than Adobe had forecast.
“Shoppers capitalized on deep discounts on Black Friday, resulting in the largest Black Friday online ever,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, in a report by TechCrunch. “Conversion rates across all devices saw double digit growth throughout Black Friday.”
On the store side, shopper visits declined a combined 1.6% for Thanksgiving and Black Friday when compared to the same days in 2016, ShopperTrak reported. Black Friday 2017 shopper visits decreased less than 1% when compared to Black Friday 2016.
“There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail, and the fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant and, when done right, profitable,” said Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak.
“This year, a greater number of brick-and-mortar retailers opted to close on Thanksgiving Day, which not only allowed store associates to be with their families, but also redistributed shopping visits to surrounding days.”
The International Council of Shopping Centers reported that more than 145 million adults spent time at malls and shopping centers over the Black Friday wekend and estimated spending, on average, $377.50.
“It was a huge win,” Rod Sides, vice chairman of consulting firm Deloitte, told USA Today. “I think bricks and mortar (malls and stores) held their own this weekend, which is exactly what (retailers) were wanting and needing this holiday season.”