Quite a data dump took place at 10 am. Here are the highlights:
- Consumer Confidence missed, printing at 69.2 on Expectations of 69.6 and down from 70.2
- 32,000 new homes were sold in March, which translated into 328,000 seasonally adjusted units in March, primarily driven by surging Southern sales even as sales in the West dropped to the lowest since September. The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $291,200, both far higher than February.
- The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 144,000. This represents a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales. Obviously this does not include the millions and millions of homes in shadow inventory and even more homes which have negative equity and will be critical in determining future demand
- The irony is that due to February revision to 353,000 total new home sales meant that the sequential change was a -7.1% drop on expectations of +1.9% rise. Alas, the robots took the headline and ran with it convinced this number is a green light to QE when in fact the print was better than expected (if still creeping along the bottom).
- Finally, the Richmond Fed also beat coming at 14 on expectations of a decline to 6 from the March print of +7.