It was the sharpest jump in more than three decades, but housing watchers are already poking holes in the new home sales numbers. After delays due to the government shutdown, data for both September and October were released together, in addition to a large downward revision for August. Follow the numbers, and the gains are not quite what the headline seems.
Contracts signed to buy newly built homes jumped 25.4 percent in October month to month, after falling 6.6 percent in September from August. The seasonally adjusted annual rate went from an originally reported 421,000 units in August, which was revised down to 379,000 units, and to 354,000 units in September. The number for September was a 10 percent drop from September of 2012. It then rose to 444,000 units in October. There is a nearly 20 percent margin of error on all these numbers.