The standard error is so high, in fact, that the government cannot be sure sales increased at all in September. The 5.3% increase is statistically meaningless compared with the 15.6% confidence interval.

Nevertheless, it’s a good article on U.S. new home sales.

THE BAD NEWS for home sellers on the outskirts.

Home builders have piled on incentives, including vacations and new cars, to sell homes. Such incentives are not subtracted from the sales price reported to the government.

THE “GOOD” NEWS we sometimes forget, it may not be as bad as the numbers.

“The median price series in both the new and existing home sales reports are not good indicators of short run price swings because they are impacted by shifts in the mix of homes sold,” said David Greenlaw, an economist for Morgan Stanley. In September, there was a 16% dropoff in the number of houses sold for more than $200,000, and a corresponding increase in sales of homes priced under $200,000.