Moments ago, the Census Bureau released the August new single-family house sales number: at 373,000 on an annualized basis, it missed expectations of a rise to 380,000, and was down from a revised 374,000. This is only the second miss in 2012, and confirms that all talk of a housing recovery is misguided, and merely represents one particular segment of the housing market: that of existing home sales where buyers have all cash, are price indiscriminate, and are willing to take advantage of the NAR's exemptions from anti-money laundering provisions. I.e., US real estate is merely a place to park cash for those who have obtained it using questionable means. Looking at the number on a non-SAAR basis reveals that only 31,000 actual houses sold in August, of which 3,000 in the Northeast: surely a reason to keep on bidding up the builders into the stratosphere: fear not, actual sales will come. Eventually. Finally, and demonstrating that rich buyers focus primarily on dumping money into existing mansions, was the distribution of purchases by price bucket, which showed a (Z), or under 500 houses sold, in the $750,000+ category. This was the first time there was a (Z) in this bucket since February.
Eventually the restocking will resume. Just not yet: there are still about 10 million units in shadow inventory, despite the government "data".