Another weak number but no surprise as last month’s was suspect on the high side.

One day up, one day down is a fit description for recent housing data. Last week’s declines in housing starts & permits were a surprising blow to the outlook, reversed in part by yesterday’s very strong report on existing home sales. But today it’s bad news again as new home sales fell a very steep 11.4 percent to a 481,000 annual rate.

The bulk of the decline came in the largest region, the South, where sales fell 15.8 percent. The drop here does follow a 9.3 percent gain in the prior month but the latest result is not good news for the region’s builders. Also contributing to the decline was the Northeast, but sales in this region are very small, as well as the West, a much larger region where sales were down 3.4 percent. Sales in the Midwest rose 5.9 percent in the month.

More new homes actually came onto the market in March, up 4,000 to 213,000 nationwide, but supply relative to sales rose sharply because of the drop in sales, to 5.3 months from 4.6 months. This reading, however, is still pretty thin and won’t scale back builder plans.

Softness in sales is confirmed by price data where the median price fell 1.5 percent to $277,400. Year-on-year, the median price is down 1.7 percent while sales are up 19.4 percent, a discrepancy that points to price discounting by builders.

March 2015 New Home Sales Are Having a Rough Ride. Four Month Decline in New Home Prices.

By John Lounsbury and Steven Hansen

The headlines say new home sales significantly declined from last month. This whole data series is suspect because of the significant backward revisions, a roller coaster of good months and bad months, and obvious seasonality issues. HOWEVER, the rolling averages smooth out much of the garbage produced in this series – and there was an insignificant improvement in the rolling averages. There is a continuing decline in new home prices.

Median Household Income Lower in March 2015

(Sentier Research) — According to new data derived from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), median annual household income in March 2015 was $54,203, about 0.8 percent lower than the February 2015 median of $54,639. The Sentier Household Income Index for March 2015 was 95.4 (January 2000 = 100).

From the Greek finance minister- reads like they accept the austerity in general so will likely get funded by the EU and move on to more of same:

None of this means that common ground cannot be achieved immediately. The Greek government wants a fiscal-consolidation path that makes sense, and we want reforms that all sides believe are important. Our task is to convince our partners that our undertakings are strategic, rather than tactical, and that our logic is sound. Their task is to let go of an approach that has failed.