Deep Dive with Dan – Trending Topics in October’s Housing News

Dan AllenHome Sales, Housing Inventory, Monthly Housing News

October 2017 Housing News Analysis

5 min read

Each month, we use IBM Watson’s tools to assess the sentiment of hundreds of housing news articles about the US housing market. Overseeing that process is Tides analyst Dan Allen. Insightful and observant, he follows the media and helps us keep a pulse on what’s going on out there. Here are his observations on the top housing media trends in October 2017:

Summary of October News

Surprise Sales

New home sales for September were reported this month to have surged 18.9% compared to August and 17.0% on a year-over-year basis. This marks the most new home sales since October 2007 and handily beat consensus expectations. August new home sales were also revised up.

Calculated Risk’s Bill McBride attributes the uptick to sales that were pushed back due to hurricane Harvey. His theory is supported by the South Census region’s particularly strong showing in the report. All regions posted higher sales than August.

Homebuilding’s New Giant

Lennar has proposed an acquisition of CalAtlantic for $5.7 billion. The combined companies would displace D.R. Horton as the largest U.S. homebuilder.

Analysts speculate that the companies would see greater efficiency by merging their operations and more leverage to negotiate favorable pricing with suppliers and contractors.

Lennar and CalAtlantic estimate annual cost savings of $250 million upon merging. As homebuilders face rapidly-escalating land and labor costs, those savings could prove advantageous. CalAtlantic is itself the product of a merger between Ryland Group and Standard Pacific.

Surveying the Housing Landscape

Freddie Mac released the results of a new survey about renters and homeownership. The survey revealed that renters cited relative affordability of renting and lifestyle as key reasons for not buying a home.

National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reveals that the first-time-buyer share of homebuyers declined to 34%. The survey also found that sellers who purchased their home between 8 and 10 years ago were significantly more likely than other sellers to postpone a home due to being underwater on the home.

Finally, the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction details the characteristics of homes built in the U.S. in 2016. The survey confirms the strength of residential construction in the South, which captured 55% of single-family homes built last year. The most common characteristics of new homes include 2-car garages, 3 or more bedrooms, 3 or more baths, gas heating and vinyl siding.


Learn more about how Housing Tides uses IBM Watson technology to process housing news.

About the Author

Dan Allen

Dan brings to Tides a background in both economics and journalism. In his work as a Tides Analyst, he draws from both disciplines to ensure that Tides is highly accurate and deeply informative. Dan double-checks the data that moves through Tides and works to fine-tune its processes to produce a continuously more insightful product.